Selective Humanitarian Intervention: Moral Reason and Collective Agents

Journal of Global Ethics 8 (1):63-76 (2012)
Abstract
This paper examines four interpretations of the observation that humanitarian intervention might be used ‘selectively’ or ‘inconsistently’ in order to elucidate the normative commitments of the deliberative process in international relations. The paper argues that there are several types of concerns that are implicit in the accusation of inconsistency, and only some of them amount to objections to humanitarian intervention as a whole. The paradox of humanitarian intervention is that intervention is prohibited except where the intervention is humanitarian, yet humanitarian reasons never exist in isolation, and it is nearly impossible to determine the real reason for intervention (or any other collective action) in the international arena. The problems revealed by an examination of inconsistency in the example of humanitarian intervention turn out to be general problems with applying the norms of practical reasoning to moral questions dealing with collective agents.
Keywords humanitarian intervention  collective action  inconsistency  selectivity
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
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