Archive for the 'ethics' Category

29 novSamuel Moyn (Harvard), « The Political Origins of Global Justice », Monday December 7th

Samuel Moyn (Harvard)

The Political Origins of Global Justice

This paper attempts to recover the intellectual origins of contemporary ‘global justice,’ especially its cosmopolitan variant that holds that egalitarian distributive justice should apply at the worldwide level. The central claim of the paper is that the founder of global justice, Charles Beitz, was first inspired by then critical of a forgotten 1970s movement known as the ‘New International Economic Order,” rather than extrapolating from any prior chapter of Western thought. Some conclusions are drawn both about the loss of a theory of agency in contemporary normative thought, and how this episode might help think further about the larger transition in global political economy from national welfarism to global market fundamentalism since World War II.

Sciences Po
199, Bd Saint Germain
Salle 502


Discussant: Tom Theuns (Sciences Po, ULB)

21 octRenaud-Philippe Garner (Univ. Toronto), « A Tale of Two Moralities », Mardi 17 Novembre, 17.00-19.00

Renaud-Philippe Garner (Univ. Toronto)

In this paper, I seek to close a gap in Michael Walzer’s argument for the moral equality of soldiers. Specifically, I seek to show that Walzer’s argument for the moral equality of soldiers depends upon an implicit analysis of the function of excuses. I provide this analysis of excuses: a triadic relationship between moral norms, a background of normality and excuses. I then use this analysis to show that Jeff McMahan’s argument for the moral inequality of soldiers rest upon an implausible view of excuses, namely that the conditions of war merely constitute excuses for failing to comply with ordinary, or peacetime, morality. I argue that the conditions of war are best understood as providing a new background of normality rather than a set of excuses. To show this, I identify five conditions that separate the normality of war from the normality of peace.

Discutant: Yoel Mitrani (Sciences Po)

Lieu : CERI, salle Jean Monnet


23 septLaura Dickinson (GWU), « Challenges to Domestic and International Legal Frameworks: Drones, Contractors, and Automated Weapons », Mardi 13 Octobre, 2015

Laura Dickinson (George Washington University)

This paper grapples with the impact of new military technologies on two bodies of law governing the use of force overseas (1) the domestic constitutional and statutory allocation of power between the President and Congress in U.S. law; (2) international humanitarian law. Unmanned aerial systems, often referred to as drones, as well as other increasingly automated weapons systems, are so radically reshaping the nature of war that they are distorting and changing time-worn legal calculations about the decision to use force abroad, as well as the way force is used once that decision is made. Moreover, the growing use of contractors, who invent, maintain, and in many cases operate these technologies, enhances this effect. By minimizing U.S. casualties and augmenting more conventional air campaigns, drones and contractors together reduce the political costs of engagement, making it easier for states to contemplate using force abroad. Perhaps even more significantly, in the United States these new methods and means of warfare enable legal arguments that change the balance of power between Congress and the President enshrined in domestic law – tilting it toward the President. At the same time, deploying these new technologies fragments authority and diffuses decision-making, which now often involves multiple actors who are removed from the actual battle. As a result, responsibility for the calculations governed by international humanitarian law is harder to pinpoint. Thus, even putting aside the vigorous debate about the scope and content of humanitarian law as it applies to the U.S. terrorist targeting program and the campaign against terrorism more broadly, we can see that the increasingly automated means of conducting that campaign, combined with the prominent role for contractors, diminishes the restraining power of international humanitarian law. To illustrate these points, the paper will focus on three examples in which the U.S. President did not receive explicit Congressional authorization for the use of force: the Kosovo intervention in 1999, the intervention in Libya in 2011, and the current campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Discussant: Roger-Philippe Garner (Univ. of Toronto)

Ecole Doctorale, 199 boulevard Saint Germain
3ème étage


16 mar« Pratiques discursives de (non)intervention: une archéologie (1648–1815) », Christelle Rigual (Graduate Institute Genève), Jeudi 26 Mars 2015, 17.00

Christelle Rigual (The Graduate Institute Geneva)

Pratiques discursives de (non)intervention: une archéologie (1648–1815)

Few studies are dedicated to the concept of non-intervention, which is frequently equated with states’ sovereignty-deduced right to independence. The paper consequently questions how, historically and discursively, the notion of nonintervention emerged and evolved. The research, investigating ‘How has the conceptual system of (non)intervention been articulated and (de)constructed in international discursive practices between 1648 and 1815?’ will be conducted as a Foucauldian archaeology. This theoretical framework suggests looking at the relations, continuities and discontinuities around discursive formations; here the one of ‘non-intervention’ defined as the ‘external (non)interference in the internal affairs of a political entity’. Assumptions guiding the research suggest that 1) concepts of nonintervention and sovereignty did not emerge in a neat package during the Peace of Westphalia; 2) these concepts might have been disconnected and have evolved differently though time. Empirically, the paper qualitatively investigates several bodies of discourses (international treaties, lawyers, politicians and historians) around
key historical junctures from the Peace of Westphalia to the Congress of Vienna, to uncover discursive practices having governed understandings of (non)intervention through time. This contribution fills the gap in our knowledge on the concept of nonintervention, contributing to the literature of International Relations and shedding a renewed light on key contemporary events.

Discutante : Amélie Ferey (Sciences Po)

Lieu : 199 boulevard Saint Germain, école doctorale, 3ème étage

23 nov« Jus Post Bellum and Externally Imposed Regime Change », Stefano Recchia (Cambridge Univ.), Jeudi 4 Décembre (17.00)

Jus Post Bellum and Externally Imposed Regime Change

Stefano Recchia (Cambridge)

Influential contemporary theorists of jus post bellum, including Brian Orend, Gary Bass, Michael Walzer, and Michael Doyle, suggest that external interveners have a duty to establish representative democratic governance structures in “genocidal states” that have recently experienced large-scale, politically motivated violence against civilians. Against this view, I argue that regardless of a society’s recent history, efforts by foreign interveners to impose representative democracy are incompatible with the liberal internationalism that those authors profess to follow. Building on Rawls’s Law of Peoples, I argue that external peacebuilders ought to establish—forcibly if needed—“decent” governance structures that guarantee basic human rights protection and allow for meaningful popular self-determination. Yet efforts by outsiders to move beyond such decent governance structures pre-emptively resolve questions of institutional design that each people should best work out for itself, and consequently they are paternalistic to a degree that is difficult to justify from a liberal standpoint concerned with self-determination. There are also consequentialist reasons for preferring merely decent governance structures to representative democracy, unless the latter is freely chosen by the recognized representatives of the local population: the establishment of decent governance structures that build on local notions of political legitimacy facilitates the emergence of stable peace, or what Rawls calls “stability for the right reasons,” whereby a society’s members internalize the principles of justice embodied in a society’s institutions and act accordingly. By contrast, as classical liberals like J.S. Mill and Giuseppe Mazzini well understood, if outsiders impose more demanding, potentially alien notions of representative democracy on a society, it may be much more difficult to establish a self-sustaining peace.

Discutante : Marine Guillaume (CERI-Sciences Po)
Lieu: CERI, 56, rue Jacob, Paris 6, salle du conseil (4ème étage)

28 oct« Taking UNFCCC Norms Seriously », Darrel Moellendorf (Goethe Universität – Normative Orders), Jeudi 13 Novembre 2014 (17.00)

Taking UNFCCC Norms Seriously

Darrel Moellendorf (Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, Normative Orders)

We are urgently in need of a comprehensive climate change mitigation treaty. This urgency affects the kind of moral guidance we should expect and can reasonably propose to others. Insofar as nonideal theory is dependent on an account of ideal theory which it serves, I argue that nonideal theory is ill-suited to offer practical moral guidance in this situation. That view does not entail, however, that climate change policy must be either morally blind or governed simply by a norm of efficiency. Instead, I argue that the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an important source of moral norms. There are very good normative and prudential reasons to take these norms seriously. The normative background provided by the treaty is a significant good for the collective effort of international cooperation. But also given the likely costs if the force of the background to become significantly weakened, it is reasonable for each state to want to see the UNFCCC remain in force and therefore also not to erode it through non-compliance. The strongest moral reasons to comply with the norms of the UNFCC, however, are the promissory obligation that a state assumes by ratifying the convention and the duty of fairness in an international system of energy use and climate change mitigation expressed by commitment to the right to sustainable development.

Discussant: Margaux Le Donné (Sciences Po)

Lieu: Sciences Po, Ecole doctorale, salle de réunion
199 blvrd St. Germain, 3ème étage

10 oct« The International Politics of Human Rights and the R2P Cause », Monica Serrano (Colegio de Mexico), Lundi 27 Octobre (17.00)

The International Politics of Human Rights and the R2P Cause

Monica Serrano (Colegio de Mexico) viendra présenter l’ouvrage dont elle a co-dirigé la publication avec Thomas G. Weiss.

The book discusses the Responsibility to Protect doctrine (R2P) ten years after its definition. The book presents international debates ranging from the prevention of mass atrocities to R2P’s normative prospects. It also addresses various issues, such as the problem of sovereignty in R2P practice. The authors try to answer key questions: can R2P break or revert cycles of violence? How can one determine the appropriate duration and timing of the preventive and protective phases of R2P? What should be the target of preventive actions? They also analyze the current doctrine in state decision making, as well as try to advance the credibility of R2P’s preventive dimensions.

Discutant : Pierre Hassner (CERI, Sciences Po)

CERI, 56, rue Jacob, salle Jean Monnet

22 mai« Shared National Responsibility for Climate Change: From Guilt to Taxes », Christopher Kutz (Berkeley), Jeudi 12 Juin, 13 heures

Christopher Kutz (Berkeley)

This paper, prepared for a colloquium on problems of state responsibility, takes up the issue of state responsibility for the costs of mitigating and adapting to global climate change. It argues that any theory of state responsibility must be integrable into individual conceptions of moral responsibility among the subjects of the states bearing the burdens of these costs. I take up the particular question whether permissions trading systems or carbon tax systems are more likely to be integrable into senses of responsibility, and argue for the superiority of the carbon tax on this (among other) grounds.

Discutante: Margaux Le Donné (Sciences Po)

Jeudi 12 Juin, 13h00-15h00
Lieu: Sciences Po, 199, blvrd St Germain, école doctorale, 3ème étage, salle de réunion
Séance organisée avec le séminaire de théorie politique de l’école doctorale

16 déc« On the Relevance of Humanity’s Collective Ownership of the Earth for Immigration », Mathias Risse (Harvard), Lundi 20 Janvier 2014

Mathias Risse, On the Relevance of Humanity’s Collective Ownership of the Earth for Immigration

My book On Global Justice makes the idea of humanity’s collective ownership of the earth central and among other topics applies it to immigration. However, this perspective continues to be largely absent from debates about immigration. This paper argues that humanity’s collective ownership of the earth should be given more prominence in immigration debates and addresses some important objections that have been raised to that approach.

Discussant: Benjamin Boudou (CERI)

Lundi 20 Janvier 2014
CERI, salle Jean Monnet

15 avr« The Morality of Drone Warfare », Jennifer Welsh, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, Mercredi 24 Avril 2013

Jennifer Welsh (Oxford Univ.), The Morality of Drone Warfare

This paper examines the impact of the increased use of drones in warfare, and their particular role in the practice of targeted killing. The preliminary section challenges some of the commonly held myths about drone technology, and argues that weaponized drones remain a ‘human heavy’ and intimate means of killing. In the second section, I demonstrate that targeted killing through drones has significant implications for what Just War Theory calls jus ad bellum (the legitimacy of engaging in war), and jus in bello (the legitimacy of acts taken during the conduct of war). With respect to JAB, drones have the potential to change states’ conception of, and adherence to, the notion of ‘last resort’ (i.e., that the use of force, because of its lethality and consequences, must only be contemplated after other means have proved unworkable). More specifically, they both raise the threshold for engaging in a large-scale war (since they offer an alternative means of meeting a threat), and encourage relaxation of the ‘last resort’ criterion when contemplating their use (since they are a means short of full-scale war). With respect to JIB, drones offer a better prospect of meeting the requirement of non-combatant immunity. But this in turn has had a morally relevant effect: the U.S. government’s faith in drones’ proportionality and discrimination induces the U.S. to undertake riskier strikes, thereby increasing the likelihood of the collateral damage drones are celebrated for preventing. Moreover, the U.S. government’s implementation of the discrimination principle in the context of counter-terrorism (particularly in ‘signature strikes’), has led to questionable methods for defining a ‘combatant’, which in practice has meant that those who the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) might define as civilians have been killed in drone strikes. This suggests that drone warfare may not actually eliminate risk, but rather transfer much of it from one society to another – raising ethical questions about the legitimacy of such a quest for ‘low cost’ warfare. In my concluding section, I will argue that targeted killing through drones has observable and morally relevant effects not only on the people and societies that are targeted, but also on the society sponsoring the killing (particularly if it is a constitutional democracy) and the individual operating the drone.

Discutant: Christopher Kutz (Berkeley University)
Salle Jean Monnet: 17.00-19.00