David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethics and International Affairs 23 (4):349-369 (2009)
Nonintervention has been a particularly important and occasionally disturbing principle for liberal scholars, such as John Stuart Mill and Michael Walzer, who share a commitment to basic and universal human rights. On the one hand, liberals have provided some of the strongest reasons to abide by a strict form of the nonintervention doctrine. It was only with the security of national borders that peoples could work out the capacity to govern themselves as free citizens. On the other hand, those very same principles of universal human dignity when applied in different contexts have provided justifications for overriding or disregarding the principle of nonintervention. In explaining this dual logic I present an interpretive summary of Mill's famous argument against and for intervention, presented in his "A Few Words on Non-Intervention" (1859), that illustrates what makes Mill's "few words" both so attractive and alarming to us. We should be drawn to Mill's arguments because he is among the first to address the conundrums of modern intervention. The modern conscience tries simultaneously to adhere to three contradictory principles: first, the cosmopolitan, humanitarian commitment to assistance, irrespective of international borders; second, respect for the significance of communitarian, national self-determination; and, third, accommodation to the reality of international anarchy, which puts a premium on self-help national security. I stress, more than has been conventional, the consequentialist character of the ethics of both nonintervention and intervention. Comparing Mill's "Non-Intervention" and Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars (1977) links two classic statements on just wars of intervention. I conclude that interventionist arguments should go beyond the three paradigmatic cases Walzer explores in Just and Unjust Wars . But while they can draw on Mill's "Non-Intervention," they need to offer a more convincing set of criteria for when such interventions are likely to do more good than harm.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
James Pattison (2011). The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention in Libya. Ethics and International Affairs 25 (3):271-277.
Similar books and articles
Deni Elliott (2007). Getting Mill Right. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 22 (2 & 3):100 – 112.
Ben Eggleston (2010). Rules and Their Reasons : Mill on Morality and Instrumental Rationality. In Ben Eggleston, Dale E. Miller & D. Weinstein (eds.), John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life. Oxford University Press.
Ted Honderich (1967). Mill on Liberty. Inquiry 10 (1-4):292 – 297.
Steven P. Lee (2010). Humanitarian Intervention - Eight Theories. Diametros 23:22-43.
Richard B. Miller (2000). Humanitarian Intervention, Altruism, and the Limits of Casuistry. Journal of Religious Ethics 28 (1):3 - 35.
Ned Dobos (2010). A State to Call Their Own: Insurrection, Intervention, and the Communal Integrity Thesis. Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):26-38.
Rory J. Conces (2001). Justifying Coercive and Non-Coercive Intervention: Strategic and Humanitarian Arguments. Acta Analytica 16 (27):133-52.
Charles R. Beitz (2009). The Moral Standing of States Revisited. Ethics and International Affairs 23 (4):325-347.
Michael Walzer (2007). Mill's "a Few Words on Non-Intervention" : A Commentary. In Nadia Urbinati & Alex Zakaras (eds.), J.S. Mill's Political Thought: A Bicentennial Reassessment. Cambridge University Press.
Endre Begby (2003). Liberty, Statehood and Sovereignty: Walzer on Mill on Non-Intervention. Journal of Military Ethics 2 (1):46-62.
Added to index2010-01-05
Total downloads43 ( #36,724 of 1,096,280 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #224,942 of 1,096,280 )
How can I increase my downloads?