The Foreign Policy of John Rawls and Amartya Sen

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Lexington Books, 2013 - Philosophy - 145 pages
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The foreign policy writings of John Rawls and Amartya Sen provide insight and clarity into some of the most difficult problems confronting humanity. What is the most effective strategy of national defense? Does an effective strategy of national defense involve the possession of nuclear weapons? Why must the right to vote--and the right to health care and the right to an education and the right to employment--center the foreign policy of a democracy? These are questions Rawls and Sen raise and answer in their writings. This book describes the foreign policy of Rawls and Sen while building up towards a policy recommendation. Human rights protect civilians from heads of state and their armies--and the foreign policy of a democracy must promote human rights. But the nature of this recommendation is very specific. By redirecting some military spending to development goals, the core needs of more civilians can be better met while simultaneously advancing human security. http: // http: //

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I found Leavitt's work to be very clear, engaging and relevant. I think it would be a very effective textbook both for philosophy and international relations. The book provides a potent critique of political realism on the backs of two great thinkers. Political realism is the norm that is taught in international relations, which not only reinforces the norm, but stifles creative ventures to go beyond it to see what other frameworks can stand the test of close scrutiny.
This work also provides clear groundings for domestic institutions that are often not closely examined (public health, etc), in very much the same way Sen and Rawls revitalize conventional understanding of "democracy" ("rule by conversation," rather than only voting) and Sen with human rights (universal capabilities).
Leavitt's presentations of international arms trade and nuclear proliferation expose these issues in a new light that are not taken as issues in political realism. Arms trade, in particular, is accepted as a sovereign right.
The book is a resource for me and I hope it continues to be a success.

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About the author (2013)

Neal Leavitt is a lecturer in the humanities at Boston University. He received his doctorate in philosophy from Boston College and his bachelor of arts in philosophy from Harvard University.

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