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The good state, from a cosmic point of view

Abstract

This article considers the question of the good state – and its normative model of foreign policy, internationalism – from a cosmopolitan perspective. This cosmopolitan worldview pushes beyond anthropocentrism to anchor its account in the vulnerability of humanity both to the political dangers it poses to itself and to the cosmic arrangement of chance that enables complex life on earth. The essay first critiques both academic and policy defences of internationalism as a ‘middle-ground’ between realism and cosmopolitanism by putting its statist ontology into question – that is, its fundamental account of human existence as bounded and determined by the nation-state. The perseverance of this underlying statist ontology creates tensions within academic defences of good international citizenship, which profess strongly cosmopolitan norms but whose moral philosophy, in accepting some practices of Realpolitik, is ethically insufficient. It then asserts an alternative ontology of (interdependent) human existence across borders and ecosystems, one that incorporates an ethically transformed state as a legal principle and an important means of cosmopolitan world order.

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Notes

  1. For further on this understanding of ontology, see Burke (2007b).

  2. I would acknowledge the value of a number of conversations with Richard Shapcott which stimulated my thinking on the potential for moral and legal change within states to contribute to cosmopolitan ends.

  3. I thank Roland Bleiker for reminding me of these concerns, which are briefly touched on in Burke (2011, pp. 110–111).

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Burke, A. The good state, from a cosmic point of view. Int Polit 50, 57–76 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2012.28

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2012.28

Keywords

  • internationalism
  • states
  • cosmopolitanism
  • English School