Sociability versus Conflict: Grotius’s Critique of the Doctrine of Raison d’État

W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz

This article presents Grotius’s argument against raison d’état and his defense of the rule of law in international relations. Grotius remains an important voice in the debate about the character of international politics. He challenges the views of the adherents of the doctrine of raison d’état who, following Machiavelli, give rulers the license to disobey legal and ethical norms whenever the vital interests of the state are at stake, and to use any means to achieve their goals, including warfare. On the other hand, he also takes a position against pacifists who on moral or religious grounds are adverse to any war. By putting forward the idea of international rule of law, even in warfare, he provided the foundation for a universal legal order applicable to all nations.

Keywords: Grotius · Machiavellism · raison d'état · militarism · pacifism · rule of law · international law

W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz – Professor of Philosophy and International Relations at the Anglo-American University of Prague. He received a D.Phil. from University of Oxford and a Ph.L. from Th e Catholic University of America. He has published widely in the fields of the history of philosophy, ethics and political philosophy. He is the author of A History of Political Philosophy: From Thucydides to Locke (2010).   »  

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