Abstract

It is no exaggeration to claim that liberalism has been one of the most influential theories in the history of political ideas, not only in the context of domestic politics but also in the field of international relations. Therefore, it is strange that international relations (IR)1 theorists generally provide a flawed, one-sided, or plainly erroneous picture of it. Liberal thinkers and their ideas are commonly misrepresented; it is common to invent all kinds of liberalisms, while parts of the liberal tradition are taken to be the whole liberal story. This book shows that not all liberals in international relations start from the same philosophical premises or share identical aims and solutions. Liberalism is not just about an optimistic view of human nature and a firm belief in the possibility of literally creating peace.2 This common portrayal of liberalism is incomplete and partly wrong as this book attempts to show. It argues for the drastic improvement of the use of liberalism in IR theory.

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© Edwin van de Haar 2009

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  • Edwin van de Haar

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