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2008 International Studies Association Annual Conference

Panel FB63 Hegel and IR: After the Cultural Turn

Beyond the Debate between Cosmopolitanism and


Communitarianism: Toward a Hegelian Synthesis

Hsuan-Hsiang Lin

Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science

Fo Guang University

sunyata_sean@yahoo.com.tw

March 28, 2008


The landscape of the ethics of international relations is largely shaped by the great divide
between cosmopolitanism and communitarianism. Theorists of international political theory
or international ethics more often than not take this divide as their initial reference scheme
(Brown 1992; Thompson 1992; Cochran 1999; Hutchings 1999; Shapcott 2001). Participants
in this debate who take the cosmopolitan position are usually political theorists (e.g. Pogge
199
4;Be
it
z199
9;O’
Nei
ll200
0;Nu
ssba
um2
002
).The
iro
ntol
ogyi
sba
sic
all
yind
ivi
dua
li
st
ic
,
and their way of thinking is usually in the Kantian mode of theorizing in the abstract. 1
Though this approach is very dominant in political theory, it is not very welcome among
students of international relations. For most theorists of IR, the basic agent of international
relations is the state, and thus any normative theory that downplays the role the state is
mi
impracticable. They dee t“
utopi
an”t
opu
temp
has
isont
hei
ndi
vid
uala
sth
epr
inc
ipa
lag
ent
and to theorize international relations in the abstract (e.g. Jackson 2005). Conversely, for
c
osmo
pol
it
anpol
it
ic
alt
heo
ris
ts,I
Rthe
ori
st
s’pos
it
ioni
sak
int
oth
ato
fthec
ommun
ita
rians in
political theory and tends to defend the status quo. There appear to be not much dialogue
between the two camps.
Given the prominence of this debate, it is impossible to bypass the divide when one
comes to the issues of ethics in IR. On the other hand, given the endurance of the debate, it
might be equally impossible to prejudge which camp will eventually win the debate. In view
of this, the issue at stake is probably not which approach is the right one. Rather, given each
approach has garnered widespread supports from its own camp, my conjecture is that both
positions may embody partial truth to some extent. Therefore, the right question to ask is
whether we can go beyond this debate and reach deeper understanding of international ethics.
In the discipline of international political theory, several theorists have embarked on the
enterprise of transcending the great divide; notable examples include Molly Cochran (1999),
Kimberly Hutchings (1999), Richard Shapcott (2001), etc. These works are all very

1
Cosmopolitanism could certainly take other forms such as utilitarianism (Hutchings 1999, 36). However, since
the Kantian version appears to be the most popular one, my discussion in this paper will focus only on the
Kantian version.

1
sophisticated accounts and deserve careful evaluation, which certainly cannot be done in this
paper. My purpose is thus only limited to exploring and assessing one among the many
approaches that attempt to go beyond the divide, ie., the Hegelian approach. But I am aware
that even such a limited purpose cannot be fully accomplished in a paper, so I shall attempt
instead to show that the Hegelian elements are indispensable when theorizing the ethics of IR.
My way of doing it goes like this: Given the predominance of the cosmopolitan thinking
among political theorists, I do not dispute the necessity of cosmopolitan elements in
theorizing international ethics. In other words, I concede that the well-beings of the
individuals must be taken into account in international ethics and theorizing in the abstract is
also indispensable. On the other hand, however, I shall argue that the interests of the state
should also be taken into account, and thinking international ethics (instead of international
morality)2 in concrete historical context is also indispensable. To show why this is so, I take
issue with the accounts of international ethics of John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas, who are
regarded as the exemplary contemporary Kantians, and attempt to reveal the Hegelian
elements implicit in their accounts. Then I shall explore if the Hegelian elements extracted
from their accounts can be grafted to the ideas of the Hegelian approaches championed by
Mervyn Frost and Andrew Linklater.3 The purpose of this exploration is to show that if both
the Kantian and Hegelian moments can be subsumed in a mainly Hegelian framework, such a
Hegelian synthesis might produce more insights and fruitful results than either the Kantain or
the Hegelian approach can do on its own.

2
Thed ifferencebe twe ene thicsa ndmor al
ityde ri
v esf r
om He gel
’sf amousd istinctionbe twe enSittlichkeit
(ethical life) and Moralität (morality) (Hegel, 1991: 62-4). See also the discussion of Chris Brown (1992, 62).
3
The choice of these two theoristsa sr epresen t
ati
v esoft heHe ge l
i ana pproac hisi nd ebtedtoMo llyCoc hran’ s
discussion of Hegelian method (Cochran 1999, ch. 3). It should be noted, however, that other theorists with
strong Hegelian characteristics are equally important. Notable examples include Chris Brown (1994) and
Ki mbe rlyHut chings( 1999 ).Ther easonIdono td iscussBr own’sa ccou ntisbe caus eitislessde ve l
ope dt han
Fr ost’
sa ndi tc ane v
enr ough l
ys ubsume dbyt helatter.Ont heo t
he rha n d,Hu tching s’saccoun tisma i
nly
concerned wi thth e“p heno me nologicala dequa cy”a nd“ g ene a
logic alh onesty”ofbo thc osmopo litana nd
c ommun itarianpo si
tions .Iamno ta bletod iscusshe rwor ki nthispa pe rfort wor ea son s
.Firs t,Hu tchins’s
account is theorizing at a highly philosophical level and it touches less on substantive issues; yet discussion at
such a level is beyond my intellectual capacity. Second, albeit explicitly invoking Hegelian phenomenology in
he rwor k ,Hu tchingsa tonepo intwr i
te s
:“ cri
ticaltheo ry
,po stmode rnisma ndf emi nisttheo r
ies come closest to
thebe stk indofi n t
erna t
ion aln or
ma tivethe ory.”(Hut chins1 999,179 )Thi ssug gestst hathera mb iti
onmi ghtg o
f arbeyondame reappr opriati
onofHe gel’sph il
osophy .

2
The Hegelian Moment
sinRawl
s’
sAc
count
Le
tmebe
ginmydi
scu
ssi
onwi
thRa
wls
’sa
ccou
ntofi
nte
rna
ti
ona
let
hic
s(Ra
wls1
999
a).The
Ka
nti
ane
leme
nti
nRa
wls
’sa
ccou
nti
squi
tee
xpl
ic
iti
nhi
sus
eoft
heor
igi
nalpo
sit
iona
tthe
international level. But his approach offers little comfort to cosmopolitan political theorist, for
they find its Hegelian elements very troublesome. The most notable Hegelian element in
Ra
wls
’sa
ccoun
tisp
roba
blyRa
wls
’st
aki
ngpe
opl
eins
tea
doft
hei
ndi
vidua
last
heun
itof
moral concern in international ethics. For cosmopolitans, the bearer of moral concern should
be the individual, not people or the state. Rawls disagrees; he holds that a cosmopolitan
approach, by employing an all-inclusive global original position that treats individuals as free
a
nde
qua
l,“
mak
est
heba
sisoft
hel
awo
fpe
opl
est
oon
arr
ow.”(
Rawls 1993, 66) Clearly, the
fundamental difference between Rawls and cosmopolitans is that Rawls regards the justice of
societies as the ultimate concern of the law of peoples whereas cosmopolitans take the
well-being of individuals as theirs (Rawls 1999a, 119). Why this difference? Arguably, it is
because Rawls very much deems people as a moral community in itself whereas
cosmopolitans regard the moral status of people as derivative of that of the individuals. Given
t
hes
tro
ngop
pos
it
iont
oRa
wls
’s“
peopl
e e
-cnt
ri
c”a
ppr
oac
hamo
ngl
ibe
ralpol
it
ica
lthe
ori
st
s,I
shall attempt to show why this approach merits our serious consideration. My defense of this
a
ppr
oac
h wi
llbe c
ouc
hedl
arg
elyi
n Ra
wls
’s own terms, but I will also reveal the
inconsistency in his account and offer a revision that make his account more coherent.
Th
eHe
gel
ia
nel
eme
ntsi
nRa
wls
’swor
ksh
aveb
eenwe
lln
ote
dbyma
nyt
heo
ris
ts.For
e
xamp
le,Ra
wls
’ss
tude
ntSi
bylSc
hwa
rze
nba
chi
den
tif
iest
hre
ear
easi
n whi
ch Ra
wls
’s
position resembles that of Hegel: the task of political philosophy and its method (or
justification), the conception of the person, and the conception of community and the state
(Schwarzenbach 1991).4 Given that this issue area (i.e., the similarity between Rawls and

4
pPe
In similar vein, Molly Cochran, based on Chandran Kukathas and Phili t
itt
’sobserva
tion(Kukat
hasand
Petitt199 0), i
dent i
fi
ess everalma inpo intswhereRa wls’sandc ommun ita
ria
n s’posit
ionsconve
rge:hi
st
ori
c a
l
con t
e xt
ua li
s m, t
hes elfasbe i
n gsoc i
a l
lyc onst
ruct
e d,andtheide athat“ moralpersonal
itycandif
ferwi
thi
n varied
socialc ontex t
s”( Cochr an199 9,23, fn.4).

3
Hegel) has been well trodden, I will take these observations as the starting points and explore
the implications for the ethics of IR. My discussion below will center on the three areas
Scwarzenbach identifies, but the order of discussion will be reversed.

Ra
wls
’sCon
cep
tiono
fSo
cialUn
ionandI
tsI
mpl
ic
ati
onf
orI
nte
rnat
iona
lEt
hic
s
Le
tmebe
ginwi
thRa
wls
’sc
onc
ept
ionofp
oli
ti
calc
ommu
nit
y,whi
chi
ssu
cci
nct
lye
xpr
ess
ed
in his exposition of the idea of well-or
der
eds
oci
etya
sa“
soc
ialuni
ono
fso
cia
luni
ons
”.The
Hegelian characteristic of this idea is manifested in a statement that draws heavily on Wilhelm
von Humboldt:

…the group achieves, by a coordination of activities among peers, the same totality of
capacities latent in each….they express the sum of potentialities of the membership as a
whole in activities that are intrinsically good and not merely cooperation for social or
economic gains…persons need one another since it is only in active cooperation with
others that one’
s powers reach fruition. Only in a social union is the individual complete.
(Rawls 1971, 524-5n, emphases mine)

The significance of viewing a well-ordered society as a social union of social unions is, as
Schwarzenbach rightly poi
ntsout
,th
ati
tat
tr
ibu
tesac
ert
ain“
pri
mac
y”t
ogr
oupa
cti
vit
y,f
or
t
heg
rou
pha
s“a
nin
ter
nalor
gan
iza
tio
nandi
nte
res
tspe
cul
iart
oit
”.Ands
uchas
che
mei
s

con
cept
ual
lyp
rior
”(n
ot“
tempo
ral
lyp
rio
r”)t
oanyne
w me
mbe
r,a
ndi
tsa
genc
yca
nnotbe
a
deq
uat
elyc
omp
rehe
nde
dint
ermsofa“
mer
esum”ofi
sol
at
eda
cti
ons(
Schwa
rze
nba
ch1
991
,
559
)Mos
timpor
tant
ly
,si
ncef
orRa
wlsc
it
iz
ens“
val
uet
hei
rpol
it
ic
ali
nst
it
uti
onsa
nda
cti
vit
ies
as goods in themselves”(
Rawl
s19
71,52
2,mye
mph
asi
s)
,itc
anb
eargued that this good is
not reducible to the sum of the goods of individual citizens.
Later in his Political Liberalism Rawls pushes the idea a step further by saying that “
a
democratic society well-ordered by the two principles of justice can be for each citizen a far
more comprehensive good than the determinate good of individuals when left to their own
devices or limited to smaller associations.”(Rawls 1996, 320, emphasis mine) Is Rawls here

4
suggesting that the good of society takes priority over that of the individuals? Rawls does not
say that, and so one is better off not to speculate by inference. In fact, Rawls cautions us not
to think that way.5 This shows that Rawls, while attributing certain primacy to the social
union, conscientiously distances himself from the organic view of society that is characteristic
of certain persuasion of communitarian thinking. We should also note that for Rawls the good
of society derives from the justice of its institution, and thus not all kinds of society but only
well-ordered societies are endowed with such good. In other words, Rawls does not grant
moral status to all societies across the board.
Now,wh
ati
sthei
mpl
ica
ti
onofRa
wls
’si
deaoft
hes
oci
alu
nionf
ort
hin
kinga
bou
t
international ethics? In his The Law of Peoples, Rawls writes:

Leaving aside the deep question of whether some forms of culture and ways of life are
good in themselves (as I believe they are), it is surely, ceteris paribus, a good for
individuals and associations to be attached to their particular culture and to take part in
its common public and civic life…
This is no small thing. It argues for preserving significant room for the idea of a people’
s
self-determination and for some kind of loose or confederative form of a Society of
Peoples. (Rawls 1999a, 61)

This passage shows that for Rawls the good for individuals to be associated with a way of life
and to be involved in public life requires that we respect the self-determination of peoples,
and arguably this is why the basic unit of moral consideration in international ethics must be
peoples not individuals. This requirement echoes Hegelian/ communitarian approach to
international ethics that takes the state to be the unit of moral concerns.6

5
Rawls writes: “ Ev eryone ’smo repr ivatel if
eiss ot os pea kapl anwi t
hinapl an, thissuperordinatep lanbe i
ng
realized in the public institutions of society. But this larger plan does not establish a dominant end, such as that
of religious unity or the greatest excellence of culture, much less national power and prestige, to which the aims
of all individuals and associations are subordinated. The regulative public intention is rather that the
constituti onalorde rs hou l
dr eali
zet hepr inc ipl
eofj u stice.
”( Ra wls1 971, 528 )
6
Rawls takes pains to draw a distinction between people and the state. However, as Allen Buchanan argues
c onvi ncingly,Ra wl s’sd i
s ti
nc ti
oni sno to nlyunne ces sarybuta l
somi sl
ea ding(Buchanan 2000). Therefore, I take
Ra wl s ’
s“ peop l
e-c entri
c ”a pp roacht ob eav ar
ianto f“ st
ate-ce ntr
ic”a pproa ch.Fo rde t
ail
eda r
g ume n t
,seemy
Ph.D. dissertation (Lin 2006a).

5
There is a difference between these two approaches, though. For the communitarian
approach as well as in the practice of contemporary international relations, sovereign states
are equals regardless of the kind and quality of their domestic institutions. This idea of
s
sovereign equality is eloquently exprese
dinChr
isBr
own’
sre
mar
k:

…this notion (i.e. nations as moral equals) is coupled with a refusal to distinguish
between different kinds of states. From the UN viewpoint, a state is a state is a
state—and any attempt to distinguish between those states that have earned the right to
autonomy and those that have not is totally unacceptable. (Brown 1992, 121)

For Rawls, by contrast, only societies whose institutions meet certain minimal criteria deserve
respect or toleration.7
But where do these criteria come from? In The Law of Peoples Rawls distinguishes
five types of peoples or societies,8 and this distinction is drawn prior to the construction of
the law of peoples, which suggests that the criteria are given from outside the construction
process. Such “
categorical”taxonomy is quite troublesome, for it appears to be inconsistent
9
with the constructivist n
atur
eofRa
wls
’sp
hil
osoph
ica
lent
erpr
ise
. To see why this is so, we
mus
tfi
rs
tcons
ide
rRa
wls
’sc
onc
ept
ion oft
he p
ers
on a
nde
xpl
orei
tsi
mpl
ica
ti
on f
or
i
nte
rna
tio
nale
thi
cs.Wewi
lla
lsoha
vet
oinqu
irei
ntoRa
wls
’sme
thodo
fju
sti
fi
cat
iona
ndi
ts
i
mpl
ica
ti
onf
ori
nte
rna
ti
ona
let
hic
s.Le
tmebe
ginwi
thRa
wls
’sc
onc
ept
iono
fthep
ers
on.

Ra
wls
’sCon
cep
tiono
fth
ePe
rsona
ndI
tsI
mpl
ic
ati
onf
orI
nte
rna
tional Ethics
In A Theory of Justice Rawls argues that moral persons are characterized by two moral
powers, i.e. they are capable of having a conception of their good and capable of having a

7
These criteria include: First, the society must not be aggressive towards other societies. Second, its system of
law must accord with a common good idea of justice, which secures basic human rights for all its members.
Third, its system of law must impose moral duties and obligations on all its members, and its judges and officials
must possess a sincere belief that the law is guided by a common good idea of justice (Rawls 1999a, 64-6).
8
They are liberal peoples, well-ordered hierarchical peoples (or decent hierarchical peoples), outlaw states,
societies burdened by unfavorable conditions, and benevolent absolutism (Rawls 1999a, 4, 63)
9
Ibo rro wt het erm“ c
ategor ica l”from Si mo nCa ne y( 2002 )
. Forde ta
ilede xpo sit
iono fRa wls’
sp o lit
ical
constructivism, see Lecture III of Political Liberalism (Rawls 1996).

6
s
ens
eofj
ust
ice(
Rawl
s19
71,50
5).I
n“Cons
ti
tut
iona
lLi
ber
tya
ndt
heCon
ceptofJ
ust
ice
,”
Rawls says that the term “
per
son”ma
yal
so bee
xte
nde
dtorefer to corporate entities
i
ncl
udi
ng“
nat
ions
,cor
por
ati
ons
,chu
rche
s,t
eams
, and so on.”(Rawls 1999b, 75) These two
ideas taken together will endow people or society with moral standing. Hence Rawls explains
in The Law of Peoples why liberal peoples have a moral character: “
Like citizens in domestic
society, liberal peoples are both reasonable and rational.”Their rationality is “
organized and
expressed in their elections and votes, and the laws and policies of their government,”while
their reasonableness is expressed in their being able to offer and honor fair terms of
cooperation provided other peoples do so as well (Rawls 1999a, 25).
Now, the question is whether this moral standing can also be granted to peoples or
societies that are not liberal? In A Theory of Justice Rawls states that “
equal justice is owed to
those who have the capacity to take part in and to act in accordance with the public
understanding of the initial situation,”and “
the capacity for moral personality is a sufficient
condition for being entitled to equal justice.”(Rawls 1971, 505, emphasis mine) Moreover,
Rawls says:

I assume that the capacity for a sense of justice is possessed by the overwhelming
majority of mankind….That moral personality suffices to make one a subject of claims is
the essential thing. We cannot go far wrong in supposing that the sufficient condition is
always satisfied. Even if the capacity were necessary, it would be unwise to withhold
justice on this ground. (Rawls 1971, 506, emphasis mine)

The crucial point of this statement is that “


the minimal requirements defining moral
personality refer to a capacity and not to the realization of it.”(Rawls 1971, 509) And this
emphasis on potentiality is especially pertinent to our discussion in that “
regarding the
potentiality as sufficient accords with the hypothetical nature of the original position.”(Rawls
1971, 509, emphasis mine).10 But if that is the right approach to the original position at the

10
In the same spirit, Charles Beitz writes: “
one would not want to argue that only the righteous, the virtuous, or
the psychologically well integrated should be respected as autonomous beings.”(Beitz 1999, 81)

7
domestic level, why should it be any different at the international level? In his objection to the
cosmopolitan view, Rawls says:

The intuitive force of equality holds, it might be said, only between individuals, and
treating societies equally depends on their treating their members equally. I don’
t agree.
Instead, equality holds between reasonable, or decent, and rational, individuals or
collectives of various kinds when the relation of equality between them is appropriate for
the case at hand. (Rawls 1999a, 69)

If this argument is sound, shouldn’


t Rawls regard all peoples as equally autonomous? In other
words, to be self-consistent Rawls should not distinguish different kinds of peoples in ideal
theory; rather, he must assume that all peoples are moral persons in so far they are capable of
being rational and reasonable. This revision would require that the representatives of all
peoples or states be included in the international original position; in other words, no states
should be excluded on the ground that they are incapable of being rational and reasonable. I
believe this revision accords better with Rawls’
s discussion concerning the basis of equality in
A Theory of Justice.
To be sure, my revision does not deny that in reality some regimes may be morally
superior to other, but this only begs the question as to who is entitled to judge the legitimacy
of a regime. As Michael Walzer argues convincingly, the members of a political community
are entitled to judge, and they are free to rebel if they deem the regime illegitimate. But the
point is that their right to revolution does not transfer readily to foreigners (Walzer 1980).
This does not suggest, however, that outsiders can never intervene on the insiders’behalf. But
absent a neutral referee, intervention is often tarnished by parochial self-interests or
self-righteous arrogance. Hence Rawls writes:

In political liberalism we must distinguish between, first, the political case for
intervention based on the public reason of the Law of Peoples and, second, the moral and
religious case based on citizen’
s comprehensive doctrines. In my estimation, the former

8
must prevail if a stable peace is to be maintained among pluralistic societies. (Rawls
1999a, 84, emphasis mine)

Here the emphasis o


npub
licr
eas
on,wh
ichi
sonei
mpor
tantf
eat
ureofRa
wls
’sl
at
erwor
ks,i
s
especially worthy of our attention. To fully understand its implication for international ethics,
wemu
stn
owt
urnt
oRa
wls
’sp
hil
osoph
ica
lme
thoda
ndh
isc
onc
ept
ionofj
ust
if
ica
ti
on.

Ra
wls
’sCon
cep
tiono
fJu
sti
fi
cat
ionan
dIt
sImpl
ic
ati
onf
orI
nte
rna
tion
alJ
ust
ic
e
I
tiswe
llk
nownt
hatt
heKa
nti
anmome
nti
nRa
wls
’sph
ilos
ophyi
semb
odi
edi
nhi
sus
eoft
he
or
igi
nalpos
it
ion.Butt
her
eisa
lsoaHe
gel
ia
nmo
menti
nRa
wls
’sme
thod;i
tis expressed in
his requirement of reflective equilibrium. As Schwarzenbach points out, for both Hegel and
Ra
wls“
mor
alphi
los
ophyi
sthea
tte
mptt
ocl
ari
fya
nds
ynt
hes
izewha
tweha
ve‘
alla
long

be
end
oing
.”(
Schwa
rze
nba
ch1
991
,544)Thi
siss
obe
caus
efor Hegel the task of philosophy
i
stoc
ompr
ehe
ndt
her
ati
ona
li
tyl
ate
ntore
mbo
die
dinwha
thec
all
s“ob
jec
tiv
espi
ri
t,
”whi
ch
r
efe
rst
o“t
hewor
ldofc
onc
ret
epol
it
ica
lins
ti
tut
ions
,cus
toms
,ands
oci
all
aws
,aswe
lla
sthe
in the traditions of their interpretation (Schwarzenbach 1991, 544).11 Whereas for Rawls the
t
askofphi
los
ophyi
sto“
rend
erc
ohe
rent
”andt
ojus
ti
fyourc
ons
ide
redc
onv
ict
ion
sofj
ust
ice
or moral judgments (Rawls 1971, 19-21) These judgments consist of what Rawls calls “
basic
:“
facts” These facts do not lie here and there like so many isolated bits. For there is: tyranny is
unjust, exploitation is unjust, religious persecution is unjust, and on and on.”(Rawls 1996,
124) ForRa
wls
,“The
sec
onv
ict
ion
sar
eprovisional fixed points that it seems any reasonable
c
onc
ept
ionmus
tac
countf
or.
”(Ra
wls199
6,8
)Ar
gua
bly
,imp
lic
iti
nthi
sid
eai
sth
ebe
li
eft
hat
there is certain degree of reasonableness latent in those facts or judgments, and thus they can
serve as the starting point of our moral reflection. But those judgments are merely
“ ”f
provisional fixed points, o
rwhen there are discrepancies between the selected principles

11
He
gelwri
tes
:“Tocompr
ehe
ndwhat is is the task of philosophy, for what is i
sre
ason
.”He
gela
lsopos
it
stha
t

Whatisr
ati
onali
sac
tual
;whati
sac
tua li sr ational.”( He gel1991 ,20-1)

9
and considered convictions, “
[w]e can either modify the account of the initial situation or we
”(Rawls 1971, 20)
can revise our existing judgments.
Rawls further parts company with Kant when he draws a distinction between proof
and justification:

…justification is argument addressed to those who disagree with us, or to ourselves


when we are of two minds. It presumes a clash of views between persons or within one
person, and seeks to convince others, or ourselves, of the reasonableness of the principles
upon which our claims and judgments are founded….A proof simply displays logical
relations between propositions. (Rawls 1971, 580-1).

I
tfol
lowst
hat“
the argument for the principles of justice should proceed from some
”and this in turn requires that justification must be public in nature (Rawls 1971,
consensus,
581). This aspect of Rawls’
s conception of justification is fully expressed in the following
passage:

Justice as fairness aims at uncovering a public basis of justification on questions of


political justice given the fact of reasonable pluralism. Since justification is addressed to
others, it proceeds from what is, or can be, held in common; and so we begin from
shared fundamental ideas implicit in the public political culture in the hope of
developing from them a political conception that can gain free and reasoned agreement
in judgment, this agreement being stable in virtue of its gaining the support of an
overlapping consensus of reasonable comprehensive doctrines. (Rawls 1996, 100-1, my
emphasis)

The emphasis on public political culture is crucial in that it exhibits another Hegelian moment
i
nRa
wls
’sph
ilos
ophy
,i.e. the relevance of historical and social conditions to political
theory.12 And since the distinctive feature of modern conditions is the fact of reasonable

12
AsSch war
ze nbachpoint
sout,pub l
icp o l
iti
calcu l
turei
nRa wl s’
sph iloso phyr oug hlypl ay sther oleof
“ob
ject
ivespi
rit”inHe g
e l
’sphi
losophy, for Rawls assumes that the core of our political institutions are at least
mini
mally“ra
tional”(Schwarze
nba ch199 1,566,n ote18).

10
pluralism, this condition impels Rawls to assign a more limited task to political philosophy,
i.e. finding an overlapping consensus. As Kukathas and Petitt points out, in so doing Rawls
further turns his back on Kant by giving up the comprehensive liberalism of Kant and Mill in
favor of the political liberalism he advocates (Kukathas and Petitt 1990, 139-42). This
Hegelian turn has far-reaching consequences for thinking about international ethics. Below I
shall elaborate on what these implications are.
Let me begin with the condition of the fact of reasonable pluralism. For Rawls,
reasonableness entails the willingness to propose fair terms of cooperation and the willingness
to recognize the burdens of judgment and to accept their consequences for the use of public
reason when justifying our political conception of justice to others (Rawls 1996, 54, 97;
Rawls 2001, 27). At the core of the idea of public reason is the criterion of reciprocity, 13 and
the content of this criterion may vary from one context to another. But why is the content of
the criterion contingency on its context? Ra
wlswr
it
es:“
it is the distinct structure of the social
framework, and the purpose and role of its various parts and how they fit together, that
”(Rawls 1993, 47)
explain why there are different principles for different kinds of subjects.
This idea is further illustrated in Rawls’
s discussion of why the principles of justice do not
directly apply to (though do impose considerable constraints on) the internal life of
associations such as family, church, university, and so on, which suggests that there needs to
be “ ”(Rawls 1999a, 158-9)
division of labor between different kinds of principles.
Now, we can return to the question why the unit of moral concern in international
ethics is people (or the state) and not the individual. In the domestic context, the reason we
can appeal to the political ideal of free and equal citizens for public justification in democratic
societies is because that ideal is part of the public political culture in those societies. Yet in the
global setting, as Leif Wenar aptly puts it,

13
Ra wl s’sfulle xposit
ionoft hei deaofpub licreas
o nissee
ninh i
s“ ”
The Idea of Public Reason Revisited,
which now becomes the addendum to The Law of Peoples.Ra wlssayst
ha t“Thei deaofp ublicreas
o ni sal
so
int
egraltoTheLa wofPe op les,wh iche xtend stheideaofasoci
alcontr
acttot heSoc ietyofPe opl
es.”( Rawls
1999a, vi) This underscores the crucial role thiside
ap lay
sinRawls’sth
eor yofi nter
na tionalethi
cs.

11
There simply is no robust global public political culture which emphasizes that the
citizens of different countries ought to relate fairly to one another as free and equal….It
is peoples, not citizens, that international political institutions regard as free and equal,
and so it is these ideas of peoples that Rawls thinks he must use to develop his global
political principles. (Wenar 2001, 87)

In other words, since respect for individual autonomy is not part of the global public political
culture, it is unreasonable from a Rawlsian point of view to appeal to such conception at the
global level. Or put it in a slightly different way: In so far as liberal democracies value
individual autonomy and treat each citizen as free and equal, so the criterion of reciprocity
applies, in the domestic context, among individuals. In the global context, however, there is
no such consensus in the public political culture. The only widely acknowledged idea is the
equality of states (or peoples), and so in the global context the criterion of reciprocity only
applies among peoples or states.
Sof
arIha
vee
nli
st
edt
heHe
gel
ia
nel
eme
ntsi
nRa
wls
’sp
hil
osop
hy—including the
idea of social unions, the conception of personhood, and his method of justification—in the
service of defending a statist approach to international ethics. This approach is largely
couched in Rawlsian terms, with the exception that I do not employ external criteria to
prejudge the legitimacy of a people or a state. This may cause the concern that by granting
moral status to all states regardless of the kind of their domestic institutions I am giving the
state a blank check to do as they please. But this concern is unwarranted. In the domestic case,
when we regard individuals as autonomous moral beings, we do not suggest that they can do
anything as they please. Rather, autonomy only means that they must legislate for themselves.
In similar vein, when I say states are autonomous moral agents, I am only suggesting that they
must legislate for themselves. This claim does not entail the assumption that states are
self-sufficient, no more than assuming that they can do whatever they like. In fact, no states in
the real world can be self-sufficient, and they must (and do) comply with international norms.
But these facts do not run up against the claim that states are autonomous moral beings, just
as the facts of interdependence among individuals and the lawfulness in the domestic context

12
cannot discredit the claim that individuals are autonomous moral beings. This interpretation
of state autonomy is to underscore the intuition that every state is to participate in the
legislation process and not to comply with a law by imposition. The crux of this interpretation
of autonomy is the ethos of anti-paternalism. Unfortunately, one principal weakness in
Ra
wls
’sa
ppr
oac
htoi
nte
rna
ti
ona
let
hic
sist
hath
iss
mug
gli
ngt
hec
rit
eri
aofr
egi
mel
egi
ti
mac
y
i
ntot
hel
awofpe
opl
ess
mac
kso
fpa
ter
nal
is
m.Ano
the
rwe
akne
sso
fRa
wls
’st
heor
yist
hath
is
account, despite exhibiting notable Hegelian moments, is still too static; a more dynamic
a
ccou
ntt
hate
mpl
oysHe
gel
’sdi
al
ect
ici
stob
ewa
nti
ng.For
tuna
tel
y,t
hes
ewe
akne
sse
sca
nbe
r
eme
die
dbye
nli
st
ingHa
ber
mas
’sHe
gel
ianmome
nts
.Be
for
etur
ningt
oHa
ber
mas
,Iwa
ntt
o
make one more point: granting moral status to states does not suggest that the state is the
single source of moral concern, nor does it mean that the moral standing of the state is
necessarily higher than that of the individual. The point is merely to suggest that the state has
its independent, irreducible moral standing, and thus in theorizing international ethics the
interests of the state must be taken into consideration along with the interests of the individual.
Cosmopolitans need not worry that my approach will prioritize state autonomy at the expense
ofi
ndi
vidua
laut
onomy
.Th
iswi
llbe
comec
lea
raf
terwedi
scu
ssHa
ber
mas
’st
heor
y.

TheHe
gel
ianMome
ntsi
nHabe
rmas
’sThe
ory
I
nana
rti
cl
ecompa
ring h
isph
ilos
ophy wi
th Ra
wls
’s,Ha
ber
masr
ega
rdshi
sown a
sa

str
aig
htf
orwa
rdKa
nti
ans
tr
ate
gy”i
nthat his approach does not try to be normatively neutral
(
Habe
rma
s1998
a,9
9).Th
iss
ugg
est
sth
atHa
ber
mas
’sa
ppr
oac
hise
venmor
eKa
nti
ant
han
Ra
wls
’si
nte
rmso
fge
ner
alph
ilo
soph
ica
lor
ien
tat
ion
.Buti
nsof
ara
sRa
wlst
ake
spe
opl
est
o
be the bearers of mor
alc
onc
erni
nint
erna
ti
ona
let
hic
s,Ra
wls
’spos
it
ioni
scl
ose
rtoKa
nt’
s
vision of a federation of nations in Perpetual Peace (Kant 1970, 93-130). By contrast,
Ha
ber
mass
eesa
ninc
ons
ist
enc
ybe
twe
enKa
nt’
svi
si
ono
faf
ede
rat
ionofn
ati
onsa
ndh
is
notion of cosmopolitan right (I will discuss this in a moment) in that the latter calls for a
federation of world citizens instead of a federation of nations (Habermas 1998a, 180-1). This

13
suggests that in terms of ontology Ha
ber
mas
’st
heor
yofg
lob
alj
ust
iceg
oesbe
yondKa
nt’
s
vision, and his position appears to come closer to that of cosmopolitans (Moon 2006, 269).
None
the
les
s,Is
hal
lar
guet
hatonc
los
ere
xami
nat
ionHa
ber
mas
’sa
ppr
oac
hal
soe
xhi
bit
str
ait
s
of Hegelianism, 14 and these Hegelian elements, if fully exploited, could eventually run
against his seemingly cosmopolitan position. The Hegelian elements consist of, firstly, his
recognition that culture provides the context which constitutes the identity of its members
(Habermas 1998a, 221) and, secondly, a dialectical approach to global justice. But as Will
Kymlicka (2002) has argued forcefully, the first Hegelian element can be reconciled without
much difficulty with a largely liberal, individualistic scheme, hence my analysis will focus on
Ha
ber
mas
’sdi
al
ectical approach and its implication for thinking about international ethics.
Ha
ber
mas
’st
heor
yofg
loba
lju
sti
cel
arg
elyr
evol
vesa
rou
ndt
hei
ssu
esofp
ost
nat
iona
l
constellation, globalizaion, human rights, and just war. At the core of these issues is the notion
of political legitimation, and this notion is in turn closely tied to the legitimacy of
nation-states. Hence I will take the question of nation-states as the entry point of my analysis.
On this issue, Habermas is apparently critical of the notions of ethnonationalism, national
self-determination, and external sovereignty, and this may suggests a cosmopolitan reading of
hi
sthe
ory
.ButHa
ber
mase
xpl
ici
tl
yst
at
es:“
the nation-state should be ‘
transformed’rather
than abolished”(Habermas, 1998a: 127). Deeper understanding of this statement calls for a
careful study of his analysis on this subject, which in turn requires that we be attentive to the
Hegelian element in his analysis and see where it may take us.

Habermas on the Question of the Nation-State


Unl
ike Ra
wls
’s s
tat
ic
, a
his
tor
ica
l no
tio
n of p
eop
le,15
s Habermas offers a
historical-sociological analysis on the development of modern nation-states. His account

14
Kenneth Baynes (2002) also argues that Habermas’
s conception of freedom exhibits strong affinities with that
of Hegel.
15
Forac r
it
iqueofRa wl s
’ss tati
c ,i
dea liz
e dno t
ionofpe opl
e,se eRobe rtJac k
son’srec entwo rkClassical and
Modern Thought on International Relations (2005).HereJ a
cksonwr ite s:“Rawls’s‘pe opl es
’h av ene i
the rname s,
norh i
stor i
esnoridenti
ties;theyon l
yha veas tandingandar oleinap hi l
oso phic
alsys t
e m. ”(Jack son20 05,161 )

14
begins with an etymological distinction between nation and the state, arguing that the state is
a“
leg
all
yde
fin
edt
erm”whe
rea
sana
ti
on i
sac
ommu
nit
yco
nst
it
ute
d byg
eog
raphi
cal
contiguity, common language, customs, and traditions, and thus the notion of a nation exhibits
prepolitical quality. Habermas claims that it was after the French Revolution that the

pre
pol
it
ic
alqua
nti
ty”wa
str
ans
for
medi
nto“
aco
nst
it
uti
vef
eat
ureoft
hepol
it
ica
lide
nti
tyof
t
hec
iti
zen
sofad
emoc
rat
icpo
lit
y.
”(Ha
ber
mas1
996
,49
4)I
not
herwor
ds,t
her
eisas
ens
eof
c
ont
ing
enc
yint
he“
symbi
osi
s”b
etwe
enna
ti
ona
lism and republicanism (Habermas 1998a,
132). Nonetheless, there is certain degree of rationality in nationalism, for the nation-state

repr
ese
nte
dac
oge
ntr
espon
set
otheh
ist
ori
calc
hal
leng
etof
indf
unc
ti
ona
lequi
val
entf
ort
he
li
early modern form of socia n
teg
rat
ion whi
ch wa
sint
hep
roc
essofdi
si
nte
gra
ti
ng.

(
Habe
rma
s199
8a,10
6)Mo
res
pec
ifi
cal
ly
,na
tio
nal
is
m“pr
ovi
dedt
hec
ult
ura
lba
ckg
rou
nd
a
gai
nstwhi
ch‘
subj
ect
s’c
oul
dbe
comepo
lit
ic
all
yac
tiv
e‘c
iti
zen
s’,
”andi
nsodo
ingi
the
lpe
d
to lay the foun
dat
ionf
orane
w“modeo
fle
git
ima
ti
on”(
Hab
erma
s19
98a
,11
1).Bet
hata
sit
ma
y,Ha
ber
masa
rgue
sth
att
he“
compl
eme
nta
ryr
ela
tio
n” be
twe
en na
ti
ona
lis
m a
nd
r
epub
lic
ani
smi
sac
ont
ing
enton
e,f
or“
cit
iz
ens
hipwa
sne
verc
onc
ept
ual
lyt
iedt
ona
ti
ona
l
y
identit.
”(Ha
ber
mas1996,495
)Ina
ddi
ti
on,t
her
eisat
ens
ion,bui
lti
ntot
hev
eryc
onc
eptof
t
nation-sat
e,“
bet
wee
nthe un
ive
rsa
li
sm of a
neg
ali
ta
ria
nle
galc
ommuni
tya
ndt
he
pa
rti
cul
ari
sm ofac
ommun
ityuni
te
dbyhi
st
ori
calde
sti
ny.
”(Ha
ber
mas1
998
a,1
15)He
nce
Habermas submits that this tension will eventually impel republicanism to part company with
nationalism, and this separation is especially pressing today in that nation-states are
threatened by multiculturalism from within and besieged by globalization from without
(Habermas 1998a, 117).
With regard to the challenges to nation-states from within, Habermas argues that in a
time of political fragmentation, characterized not only by national and ethnic conflicts but
also the problem of poverty and redistribution, nationalism can no longer provide the
foundation for social integration (Habermas 2001, 71-2). He submits that the function of
s
oci
ala
ndp
oli
ti
cali
nte
gra
ti
onmus
tnow bepe
rfor
medby“
apr
act
iceo
fse
lf-legislation that

15
l
includes all citizens equaly
.”I
naddi
ti
on,Ha
ber
masbe
lie
vest
hatwhe
nadi
scur
si
vep
roc
ess
o
of will-frma
tio
nca
n ma
ke p
oss
ibl
ea r
eas
ona
blep
oli
ti
calund
ers
tand
ing
,“a pr
evi
ous
background consensus, constructed on the basis of cultural homogeneity and understood as a
t
necessary caal
yzi
ngc
ondi
ti
onofd
emoc
rac
y”wi
llb
ecome“
supe
rfl
uous
”(Ha
ber
mas2
001,
73)
.Th
isl
ead
stoh
isf
amo
usc
lai
mtha
tthe“
nat
ionofc
iti
zens
”mus
tre
pla
cet
hen
ati
on-state,
a
nd“
cons
ti
tut
iona
lpa
tri
oti
sm”c
anr
epl
acen
ati
ona
li
sma
sthef
ounda
tio
nofc
ivi
csolidarity
(Habermas 1998a, 108, 118, 129-32).
Now,a
tthep
hil
osoph
ica
lle
vel
,Ha
ber
mas
’sd
erog
ati
onofna
ti
ona
lis
misi
ncon
sis
ten
t
with his endeavor to accommodate the challenge of multiculuralism, which is expressed in his
aforementioned recognition that culture provides the context that constitutes the identity of its
members (Habermas 1998a, 221). Habermas once offers a non-instrumental justification for
t
he“
int
ri
nsi
csi
gni
fi
can
ce”ofc
ult
uref
ort
hei
ndi
vidu
als
,ar
gui
ng:“
Onl
yass
oci
alme
mbe
rsof
cultural communities can they develop into persons. Only on the path of socialization,
growing into an intersubjectively shared universe of meanings and practices, can persons
16
de
vel
opi
ntodi
st
inc
tin
divi
dua
ls.
”(Ha
ber
mas200
5,17
) The Hegelian character in this
t
hes
iso
f“i
ndi
vidua
ti
ont
hro
ughs
oci
al
iza
tio
n”or“
cul
tur
alc
ons
ti
tut
iono
ftheh
uma
nmi
nd”i
s
r
emi
nis
centofRa
wls
’si
deao
fso
cia
luni
ons
.Anda
sMa
xPe
nskypoi
ntsou
t,i
nth
edome
sti
c
context culture is construed as an enabling condition for the growth of democratic institutions.
However, in the international context the nation is deemed the principal disenabling condition
for the growth of global democratic institutions. Pensky argues that cultural identity is no less

art
if
ici
al
”tha
nna
ti
ona
lidentity, and so Habermas should be equally critical of both (Pensky
200
0).Pe
nsky
’sc
rit
ici
sm ofHa
ber
masun
der
sco
rest
hei
mpor
tanc
eofi
ndi
vid
ualr
efl
exi
vit
y,
and its purpose is to point to a form of cosmopolitanism that values global solidarity. Here I
ntt
wa ore
ver
sePe
nsky
’sa
rgume
nta
ndt
akei
ttot
heop
pos
it
edi
rec
tio
n.Is
hal
lar
gue
:
Ha
ber
mas
’sdownpl
ayi
ngofna
ti
ona
li
smi
sba
sedo
nth
eas
sump
tiont
hat“
col
le
cti
vei
dent
it
ies
a
rema
de,n
otf
ound,
”(Ha
ber
mas20
01,19
;cf
.Ha
ber
mas1
996
,494)a
ndt
hisa
ssumption

16
Ina
not
herpla
ce,Haber
maswri
tes
:“Per
sons,
inc
lud
ingl
ega
lpe
rson
s,be
comei
ndi
vidua
li
zedon
lyt
hro
ugha
pr
oces
sofsoc
ial
iza
tio
n.”(
Haber
mas1998a,2
08)

16
a
cqu
ire
sit
sst
reng
thl
arge
lyf
rom Be
nedi
ctAnd
ers
on’
sthe
sisof“
ima
gin
edc
ommuni
ty”t
hat
Habermas cites repeatedly in his works (Habermas 1998a, 110; Habermas 2001, 64) It is
de
bat
abl
e,ho
weve
r,whe
the
rna
ti
onsa
re me
rel
y“i
mag
ine
dcommun
ity
”.But it is not
ne
ces
sar
ytog
eti
ntot
hisd
eba
tehe
re,f
ort
hef
actt
hats
ome
thi
ngi
s“c
ons
tr
uct
ed”do
esno
t
suggest that it does not deserve our respect.17 If Habermas believes cultural identity deserves
respect, then he cannot say that national identity does not deserve respect. It would be
i
ncon
sis
ten
ttodot
hec
ont
rar
y,f
orbot
hcu
ltu
rala
ndna
ti
ona
lide
nti
ti
esa
ree
qua
lly“
art
if
ici
al
”.
Be that as it may, Habermas can revert to a more individualistic position to accommodate
multiculturalism. This is evident in his defense for granting cultural rights to minorities.
Ha
ber
masa
rgue
stha
tcu
ltur
alr
igh
tsne
edno
tar
is
efr
om as
haky“
pre
sump
tio
nofe
qua
l
va
lue
s”ofc
ult
ure
s,a
sCha
rle
sTa
ylor
’spo
lit
ic
sofr
ecog
nit
iona
ppe
arst
osug
ges
t;norne
ed
they take the form of collective rights (Habermas 1998a, 221-2). Rather, he submits that
cultural rights can be derived from the principle of the inviolability of human dignity
)
(Habermas 2005, 17-8.Ha
ber
masa
rgue
sag
ain
stt
he“
spe
cie
spr
ese
rva
ti
on”a
ppr
oac
hto
a
culturlr
ight
san
dthe“
pol
it
ic
sofs
urv
iva
l”.Ther
eas
oni
sthi
s:“
Thea
cce
ler
ate
dpa
ceof
change in modern societies explodes all stationary form of life. Cultures survive only if they
dr
awt
hes
tr
eng
tht
otr
ans
for
mthe
mse
lve
sfr
om c
rit
ic
isma
nds
ece
ssi
on.
”(Habermas 1998a,
223) This challenge of modernity demands that members of every culture take a reflexive
a
tti
tudet
owa
rdt
hei
rcul
tur
e.Andt
hos
e“r
igi
dfo
rmsofl
if
e”t
hatl
acka
nawa
ren
essoft
he

fal
li
bil
it
y”oft
hei
rcl
aimsa
ret
husde
eme
d“f
unda
ment
al
is
t”a
ndwi
llt
husnotbet
ole
rat
edi
n
a democratic constitution (Habermas 1998a, 222-4; Habermas 2005, 20-3).
Clearly, the crux of Habermas’
s approach to accommodating multiculturalism is to
subsume the politics of recognition under the heading of socialized individual rights. Whether
or not this strategy is successful is a keenly debated issue. Indeed, multiculturalists do contest
sa
that Habermas’ ppr
oac
hru
nsa
gai
nstt
hepr
oce
dua
li
sm ofHa
ber
mas
’sphi
los
ophyi
ntha
tit
t
entails a substantive prejudgment wihr
ega
rdt
oth
eun
rea
son
abl
ene
ssof“
funda
ment
ali
st

17
Money and property rights are socially constructed. Can we infer from this fact that they do not deserve our
respect?

17
ways of life. Maeve Cooke, for example, argues that “
the denial of equal political recognition
to some persons on the basis of the content of the substantive ethical commitments and
convictions poses a problem with a moral dimension.”(Cooke 1997, 281) In similar vein,
Andrea T. Baumeister also contends that such denial of equal recognition “
does not sit well
wi
th Ha
ber
mas
’sown c
ommi
tme
ntt
ore
spe
cte
ach pe
rso
n’sc
apa
cit
ytof
orm he
rown
conception of the good life”and iti
sal
soi
ncomp
ati
ble wi
th Ha
ber
mas
’sc
lai
mtha
t

democratic will-formation does not draw its legitimating force from the prior convergence of
s
ett
lede
thi
calc
onv
ict
ion
s.”(
Baume
ist
er2
003
,749; cf. Habermas 1996, 278) Such
contentions suggest that the task of accommodating multicultural aspirations within a
fundamentally individualistic framework is much more difficult than Habermas anticipated.
Atal
essphi
los
ophi
call
eve
l,Ha
ber
mas
’sc
ons
ti
tut
ion
alpa
tri
oti
sm ma
yha
vec
ert
ai
n
appeal for Western democracies, but it is doubtful if the Western experience can be
generalized and extended to the rest of the world. I am not suggesting that non-Western
societies will never become like Western societies; indeed they can (i.e., Japan). But we
s
hou
ldn
ota
ssumet
hatt
heWe
ste
rnt
raj
ect
oryi
sth
eonl
ypa
tht
o“mode
rni
zat
ion.
”Eve
nift
he
Western experience is the model for the rest of the world, it may still be the case that the idea
of national self-determination has not exhausted its appeal among non-Western societies. The
evidence is not hard to find—just consider the reason why so many Taiwanese and Tibetans
want to pursue independence.18 For those nations that aspire for their own states, nationalism
may prove to be the most effective mode of social integration. Unfortunately, Habermas is so
hostile to the right to self-de
ter
mina
ti
ont
hathee
venr
ega
rdsi
tas“
she
ern
ons
ens
e”.He
c
ont
endst
hat“
dema
ndsf
or‘
nat
iona
l nde
-i pende
nce
’ar
ele
git
ima
teon
lya
sar
espo
nset
othe
repression of minorities whom the central government has deprived of equal rights,
s
pec
ifi
cal
lyr
ight
stoc
ult
ura
leq
ual
it
y.
”(Ha
ber
mas2
001
,72)Doe
sth
isme
ani
ftheBr
it
is
h

18
AsJ eanBe thk eEl s
taina rgue se l
oq uently,“ Agg rieve dpe op
leswant,n otane ndt othena ti
on -state, or to
sovereignty, or national autonomy, but an end to Western colonial or Soviet or other external dominance of their
particular histories, languages, cultures and wounded sense of collective identities. Once inside the world of
nation-state civic identity, they are pitched into that outside wor
ldofstatec omp etiti
on.
”( Els ht
a in1 995 ,2 70,
emphases in the original)

18
Empire had granted Indians equal cultural rights then the Indian would have no right to
self-determination?
Let us tackle the issue from different angle: Habermas wants to replace nationalism with
constitutional patriotism. But could it be the case that constitutional patriotism as a foundation
for social and political integration is too thin and too weak? Habermas is not unaware of this
pr
obl
em.I
nfa
ct,h
eac
knowl
edg
est
hate
ver
yle
gals
yst
emi
s“e
thi
cal
lyi
mbu
ed”i
nth
ati
t
expresses a form of life and not merely reflect the universal content of basic rights (Habermas
1998a, 144; Habermas 1998a, 217). However, if constitutional democracies are so permeated
by ethics, is it likely that their ethical content may someday develop into their distinct
political cultures? And once their political cultures are consolidated, one wonders if the
patriotism initially based on constitutional principles will not turn into another form of
nationalism. The case of American patriotism is a good example. As is well known, American
pe
opl
ede
vel
opas
ens
eof“
Ame
ric
ane
xce
pti
ona
li
sm”f
rom t
hei
rownhi
st
ori
cale
xpe
rie
nce
;
they deem patriotism as a civic virtue while find fault with the nationalism of others. Because
of this execptionalist mentality, the US has been hostile, and even belligerent in its
a
confrontation with the so-cll
ed“
tot
ali
tar
ian
”st
ate
s.Th
iss
ugg
est
sth
ata
tthe international
level constitutional patriotism may prove to be just as troublesome as nationalism does.
Mor
eove
r,Ha
ber
mas
’sc
onf
ide
nceo
fthep
eac
efult
end
enc
yofl
ibe
rald
emoc
rac
iesd
eri
vesi
ts
s
tre
ngt
h,a
sint
hec
aseofRa
wls
’sa
ccoun
tdo
es,f
rom t
he democratic peace thesis (Habermas
1998a, 171-8). But as I have argued elsewhere (Lin 2006, ch. 2), democratic peace thesis
cannot guarantee that democracies will never attack non-democracies, as is evident in the
2003 American invasion of Iraq, and this raises serious concerns in the ethics of IR. For, even
if constitutional principles can serve as the foundation of solidarity among Europeans as
Habermas wishes, it does not preclude the possibility that they may still be involved in
conflict with the rest of the world without a just cause. This suggests that at the international
level the difference between constitutional patriotism and nationalism cannot be
overemphasized.

19
Habermas on the Challenge of Globalization to Nation-States
For Habermas, the nation-state faces not only the challenge of multiculturalism from within
but also the challenge of globalization from without. He argues that under the pressures of
globalization the prerogatives of the nation-state have eroded in three aspects:

i
(1) the declnei
nthes
tat
e’sc
apa
cit
ie
sforc
ont
rol
;(2)g
rowi
ngde
fic
it
sint
hel
egi
ti
mat
ion
of decision-making processes; and (3) an increasing inability to perform the kinds of
steering and organizational functions that help secure legitimacy (Habermas 2002, 220).

Habermas argues that competition between states in the age of globalization weakens the
c
apa
cit
yofs
oci
ali
nte
gra
ti
onofwe
lfa
res
tat
es,wh
ichr
end
ersobs
ole
te“
Key
sia
nis
mino
ne
c
oun
try
”.Th
egr
owi
ngi
nte
rde
pen
denc
eha
str
ans
for
medt
heg
lobei
ntoa“
community of
r
isk
s,”whi
chi
ntr
oduc
esane
w hor
izon t
hatr
ule
soutt
heo
pti
on ofe
xte
rna
li
zi
ng t
he
consequences of our actions (Habermas 2001, 51, 55, 79). These add to the reason why the
nation-state must be transformed. One alternative to the nation-state is to transfer its welfare
functions to supranational agencies such as the European Union. But the creation of larger
pol
it
ica
len
tit
ie
s“wou
lda
tbe
stg
ene
rat
ein
ter
nala
dva
nta
gesf
org
loba
lcompe
ti
ti
on,
”whi
ch
me
rel
yle
adst
o“de
fen
sivea
lli
anc
esa
gai
nst the rest of the world, but it changes nothing in the
modeofl
oca
ti
ona
lco
mpe
ti
ti
ona
ssu
ch.
”(Ha
ber
mas200
1,53)I
naddi
ti
on,t
hisl
eve
lla
cks
a
not
hermodeo
fpol
it
ic
alc
oor
dina
ti
on:t
hes
eins
ti
tut
ionsa
re“
toowe
akt
ota
kebi
ndi
ng
decisions and to assume any efficient regulatory function over the economy, ecology or social
s
ecur
it
y.
”(Ha
ber
mas1998b)
For Habermas, the only way out of this impasse is to introduce elements of a global
will-formation,wh
ichi
ncor
por
ate
sind
ivi
dua
lst
ate
sint
o“t
he bi
ndi
ng procedures of a
c
osmo
pol
it
anc
ommuni
tyofs
tat
es.
”Ift
hisi
sthes
olut
ion,t
hen“
thede
cis
iveq
ues
ti
oni
s
whether the civil society and the increasingly large regimes can foster the consciousness of an
obl
iga
tor
ycos
mopol
it
ans
oli
dar
it
y.
”(Ha
ber
mas2
001
,55) However, as Habermas is quite

20
a
war
e,“
thepol
it
ic
alc
ult
ureofawor
lds
oci
etyl
ack
sthec
ommone
thi
cal
-political dimension
that would be necessary for a corresponding global community—and its identity
f
orma
tio
n….
Acos
mopo
lit
anc
ommuni
tyofwor
ldc
iti
zens can thus offer no adequate basis for
ag
loba
ldo
mes
ti
cpol
icy
.”(
Habe
rma
s20
01,10
9)He
nce
,themod
elHa
ber
masha
sinmi
ndi
s
not that of cosmopolitan democracy championed by David Held and Daniele Archibugi;
r
ath
er,h
isv
isi
onof“
awor
lddo
mes
ti
cpol
icywi
thoutawor
ldg
ove
rnme
nt”i
stober
eal
iz
ed
through an international negotiation system t
hatop
era
tesbe
twe
en“
pol
it
ic
alpr
oce
sse
stha
t
pe
rsi
sta
tna
ti
ona
l,i
nte
rna
ti
ona
l,a
ndg
loba
lle
vel
s.
”(Ha
ber
mas200
1,1
09-10) In this dynamic
pi
ct
ure
,“Th
eaut
onomy, particularity, and uniqueness of formerly sovereign states will have
t
obet
ake
nint
oac
count
.”(
Habe
rma
s20
01,
56)
By far it seems that Habermas cannot but acknowledge that states still play an important
role in the process of global will-formation. Nonetheless, Habermas remains skeptical of
s
ove
rei
gns
tat
es:“
TheHob
bes
ianp
robl
em—how to create a stable social order—overtaxes
t
hec
oop
era
ti
vec
apa
cit
iesofr
ati
ona
leg
ois
ts,e
venont
heg
loba
lle
vel
.”(
Habe
rma
s20
01,56)
He
ncet
he “
addr
ess
ees
”fort
he project he has in mind are social movements and
non-governmental organizations and not the states. But is it true that sovereign states are not
capable of solving the Hobbesian problem? In the literature of IR, students of rational choice
and game theory have argued convincingly that states as rational egoists are not incapable of
reaching cooperation under the condition of anarchy (Axelrod 1984; Oye ed. 1986).
Al
exa
nde
rWe
ndt
’sc
ons
tru
cti
vis
m e
vens
ugg
est
stha
tsove
rei
gns
tat
esa
rec
apa
ble of
transforming the international system from the Hobbesian culture to the Lockean culture, and
even to the Kantian culture (Wendt 1999, ch. 6). Hence the Hobbesian problem is not
unsolvable by egoist states. Even if we concede that states cannot solve the problem, it is not
clear why social movements and NGOs, who may also be rational egoists, are capable of
s
olvi
ngi
t.Th
iss
ugg
est
sth
atHa
ber
mas
’sdo
wnpl
ayi
ngoft
her
oleofs
tat
esi
nfa
voroft
he
NGOs and social movements is unpersuasive.

21
Habermas on Human Rights and Its Implication for International Ethics
A full exposition of Habermas account of international ethics must also include his position
onh
uma
nri
ght
s,f
orh
eexpl
ic
it
lyof
fer
sat
hes
iso
f“l
egi
ti
mat
iont
hroug
hhuma
nri
ght
s”

(Habermas 2001, ch. 5). Habermassdi
scu
ssi
onbe
ginswi
tht
hel
ega
cyofKa
nt’
snot
ionof
.Ac
cosmopolitan law (das Recht der Weltbürger) cor
dingt
oHa
ber
mas
’sa
nal
ysi
s,Ka
nt’
s
social contract theory draws an analogy between the individual and the state, arguing that the
es
state must exit th t
ateo
fna
tur
eande
nte
ras
tat
eof“
leg
all
yse
cur
edf
ree
dom.
”ForKa
nt,t
his
state of freedom is to be achieved not by a federation of citizens, but by a federation of free,
independent states. This federation is voluntary in so far as the associated states retain their
sovereignty. Habermas finds this vision of perpetual peace inadequate, however, for with the
pr
ovi
sot
hats
tat
esma
ydi
sso
lvet
hei
rco
mpa
ct,t
hef
ede
rat
ion“
rema
insh
ost
aget
oanu
nst
abl
e
l
constellation of interests and will inevitably fala
par
t.
”Hes
ubmi
tst
hatpe
rpe
tua
lpe
ace
c
ann
otde
pendon“
eac
hgove
rnme
nt’
sownmoral self-obl
iga
ti
on”(
Habe
rma
s199
8a,169
).
Ra
the
r,i
tmus
tbes
ecu
redt
hroug
hac
osmopo
lit
anl
awt
hat“
bypa
sse
sthec
oll
ect
ives
ubj
ect
s
of international law and directly establishes the legal status of the individual subjects by
g
rant
ingt
hem unme
dia
tedme
mbe
rshi
pint
hea
ssoc
iat
iono
ffr
eea
nde
qua
lwor
ldc
it
iz
ens
.”
(
Habe
rma
s1998a
,181)Suc
hac
onc
ept
ualr
evi
si
ono
fKa
nt’
svi
si
oni
sne
ces
sit
at
edo
nthr
ee
grounds: First, in response to the catastrophes of the twentieth century, the two world wars in
particular, the Briand-Kellogg Pact and the incrimination of war itself as a crime have altered
the external relations among states. Second, the introduction of the notion of “
cri
mesa
gai
nst
huma
nit
y”a
lsos
etsl
imi
tso
nthei
nte
rna
lsove
rei
gnt
yofs
tat
es.Thi
rd,t
heg
loba
li
zat
ionof
da
nge
rfur
the
rca
ll
sforar
econc
ept
ion
tua
liz
ati
onoft
hev
eryc
onc
eptof“
pea
ce”(
Habe
rma
s
1998a, 178-86).
It should be noted, however, the three grounds given above are sociological or post hoc
justifications. They only imply that states are no longer sovereign today; they tell us nothing
about the moral and political status of human rights. As Habermas is quite aware, an
international agreement ont
heno
rma
ti
ves
tat
usofh
uma
nri
ght
siss
ti
lll
ack
ing
,and“
the

22
g
ene
ralv
ali
dit
y,c
ont
ent
,andr
ank
ingofhuma
nri
ght
sar
easc
ont
est
eda
seve
r.
”(Ha
ber
mas
2001, 119) Hence, Habermas must offer a philosophical justification as to why human rights
provide the sole basis for legitimation at the international level. His account can be found in
his response to three lines of objection: the self-criticism of the West, the discourse of

Asi
ati
cva
lue
s,”a
ndt
hec
hal
le
ngeoff
und
ame
nta
li
sm(
Habe
rma
s200
1,c
h.5)
. To meet the
challenge of fundamentalism, Habermas appeals to the modern condition, i.e. the fact of
pluralism of worldviews, and argues that the secularization of politics requires that traditional
wor
ldvi
ewsun
der
goa“
ref
lexi
ver
efor
mul
at
ion
”(Ha
ber
mas2001, 128). In response to the
di
scou
rseof“
Asi
at
icva
lue
s,”Ha
ber
masa
rgu
est
hatt
het
rad
iti
ona
lfor
mso
fpol
it
ica
land
s
oci
ali
nte
gra
ti
onmus
tad
aptt
o“t
heha
rd-to-resist imperative of an economic modernization
t
hath
aswona
ppr
ova
lont
hewho
le.
”(Ha
bermas 2001, 124) Finally, in response to criticism
from inside the West, Habermas appeals to the Western standards of legitimacy expressed in
a
nide
als
pee
chs
it
uat
ioni
nwhi
ch“
fre
ean
dequ
alc
it
iz
enst
akec
oun
selt
oge
the
ronh
owt
hey
can regulate their c
ommonl
if
e.”(
Habe
rma
s2001
,12
1)
It should be noted that the second line of justification is a functional one, and Habermas
is aware that functional arguments cannot easily be converted into normative arguments
(Habermas 2001, 125). Hence the burden of justification falls on the rest two arguments,
whos
e“i
ndi
vidu
ali
st
ics
tyl
eands
ecul
arb
asi
s”a
cco
rdsc
ent
ral
it
ytoa
uton
omy(
Habe
rma
s
2001, 122) This appeal to individual autonomy amounts to seeing the West as the measure of
the rest of the world.19 But as I have argued earlier, the rest of the world may not follow the
path of the West. And even if they do, it is not clear how human rights are to be enforced
universally around the (real) world. The question of enforcement is especially important in
that it t
ake
sust
oth
eHe
gel
ia
nmome
nti
nHa
ber
mas
’st
heo
ryt
hatdoe
snots
itwe
llwi
thh
is
Ka
nti
anmome
nt.Thi
sHe
gel
ianmome
nti
sexp
res
sedi
nHa
ber
mas
’si
deat
hathu
manr
igh
ts
are not merely moral but legal in nature. Habermas writes:

19
Indeed, Habermas doeswri
tes
:“TheFir
stWorl
dthusdef
inessot
ospe
akthemeri
dia
nofapr
ese
ntbywhi
ch
t
hepo li
ti
c alsi
mu lt
aneityofe
conomicandcul
tur
alno
nsimul
tanie
tyi
smeasu
red.
”(Haber
mas19
98a,18
4)

23
…human rights belong structurally to a positive and coercive legal order which founds
actionable individual claims. To this extent, it is part of the meaning of human rights that
they claim the status of basic rights which are implemented within the context of some
existing legal order, be it national, international, or global. (Habermas 1998a, 192,
emphasis in the original)

sidea that r
This idea is similar to Mervyn Frost’ ight
sar
e“s
it
uat
ed”
:“[r]ights are not things
which a person can be conceived of as having outside of or prior to any and all social and
political institutions.”(Frost 1996, 138) But what is the implication of this notion of rights as
situated for international ethics? Michael Walzer has answered this question eloquently, so
allow me to quote in length:

Individual rights may well derive, as I am inclined to think, from our ideas about
personality and moral agency, without reference to political processes and social
circumstances. But the enforcement of rights is another matter. It is not the case that one
can simply proclaim a list of rights and then look around for armed men to enforce it.
Rights are only enforceable within political communities where they have been
collectively recognized, and the process by which they come to be recognized is a
political process which requires a political arena. The globe is not, or not yet, such an
arena. Or rather, the only global community is pluralist in character, a community of
nations, not of humanity, and the rights recognized within it have been minimal and
largely negative, designed to protect the integrity of nations and to regulate their
commercial and military transaction. (Walzer 1980, 226-7, emphasis mine)

Tob
esur
e,Ha
ber
masi
sce
rta
inl
ynotuna
war
eof“
thewe
akl
inki
nth
egl
oba
lpr
ote
cti
onof
human rights r
ema
inst
hea
bse
nceo
fane
xec
uti
vepowe
r.
”(Ha
ber
mas199
8a,18
2)Buthe
f
ail
stoe
xpl
oret
hei
mpl
ic
ati
onsoft
his“
enf
orc
eme
ntde
fic
ien
cy”f
ort
heo
riz
ingi
nte
rna
ti
ona
l
ethics. As I have argued elsewhere, the absence of an impartial authoritative administration
often gives rise to the problems of selective enforcement and double standard that are bound
to breed cynicism. And where these problems are not at issue, the fact that those values are
often pursued paternalistically is of great concern (Lin 2006, ch. 5).

24
The problem of paternalism is of particular interest here, for the ethos of
anti-pa
ter
nal
is
misa
tthehe
artofHa
ber
mas
’sphi
los
ophy
.Thi
set
hosi
sexpr
ess
edi
nhi
s
repeated emphasis that a legal order is legitimate only when the addressees of the law can see
t
hems
elve
sasi
tsa
uthor
s.
”(Ha
ber
mas 19
98a
,21
5) Me
asur
ed by t
hisd
oct
ri
ne of
e
self-lgi
sl
at
ion,no
tonl
yTa
ylor
’spol
it
icsofr
ecog
nit
ionb
uta
lsoRa
wls
’spo
lit
ic
all
ibe
ral
is
m
will appear to be paternalistic (Habermas 1998a, 207; Habermas 1998a, 95).20 Now, it is
c
ert
ain
lyde
bat
abl
ewhe
the
rthec
rit
ic
ism ofpa
ter
nal
is
misf
airt
oRa
wls
’sp
oli
ti
call
ibe
ral
is
m,
a
sRa
wlsd
idc
ont
estt
hev
ali
dit
yoft
hec
har
ge.Non
ethe
les
s,Ra
wls
’st
heo
ryofi
nte
rna
ti
ona
l
ethics does exhibit the trait of paternalism i
nth
ati
ts“
cat
ego
ric
alt
axon
omy
”ofp
eopl
es
relegates non-liberal peoples to an inferior status and it prejudges certain regimes illegitimate
by smuggling in criteria of regime legitimacy prior to the construction of the law of peoples.
be
Interestingly, Ha r
mas
’st
heo
ryc
oul
dof
fera
nant
idot
e,f
orhi
sdo
ctr
ineofs
elf
-legislation,
whe
napp
lie
dtot
hei
nte
rna
ti
ona
lle
vel
,wou
ldr
equ
irea“
dec
ent
ral
iza
tionofone
’sown
pe
rspe
cti
ve”(
Habe
rma
s20
03,369
).The a
nti
-pa
ter
nal
is
ti
ccha
rac
ter
is
ti
c ofHa
ber
mas
’s
international ethics in most evident in his criticism of American invasion of Iraq in 2003:

“ —including those that have a chance of winning global recognition—don’


Values” t
come from thin air. They win their binding force only within normative orders and
practices of particular forms of cultural life. If thousands of Shi’
ites in Nasiriya
demonstrate in equal measure against both Saddam and the American occupation, they
express the truth that non-Western cultures must appropriate the universalistic content of
human rights from their own resources and in their own interpretation, one that will
construct a convincing connection to local experiences and interests. (Habermas 2003,
369)

This criticism points to a more dialogical and less monological approach to international
ethics in which the West and the rest can learn from each other through dialogue:

20
Inpa rti
cular,i
nh iscriti
queo fRa wl s’
sph ilosop hi
c alprojectHa berma swr i
te s:“Howe v er,on lyat he
oryt
hat
lays down the complete design of a well-ordered society for the citizens create the danger of political
paternalism. Rawls does not consider that a consistently worked-out procedualism could defuse the whole issue
ofwhe t
he rph i
los
op hyunde rmine sthepo liti
cala utonomyoft hec itizens.”(Ha be rma s1998a ,95)

25
With the growing distance of imperial domination and the loss of colonialism, the
European powers also got the chance to assume a reflexive distance from themselves.
They could learn from the perspective of the defeated to perceive themselves in the
dubious role of victors who are called to account for the violence of a forceful and
uprooting process of modernization. This could support the rejection of Eurocentrism,
and inspire the Kantian hope for a global domestic policy. (Habermas and Derrida 2003,
297, emphasis in the original)

Arguably, for this dialogical approach to be possible Habermas must abandon his claim that
sr
the West is the measure of the rest. In thi e
gar
d,Ra
wls
’st
heor
yma
ypr
ovet
obee
qua
lly
suited to such a dialogical approach, for Rawls explicitly affirms that decent societies are just
as capable of moral learning as liberal peoples are.21 My difficulty with Rawls is that he
should not assume that only liberal peoples and decent societies are capable of moral learning.
Rather, we must assume that all peoples have the same moral capacity unless evidence proves
otherwise. Hence, by allowing the representatives of all peoples to participate in the
i
nte
rna
tio
nalor
igi
nalpos
it
ion,my r
evi
si
on ofRa
wls
’sf
rame
wor
k wi
llbe e
ven mor
e
c
ons
ist
entwi
thad
ial
ogi
cala
ppr
oac
htha
nRa
wls
’so
wn.

The Hegelian Approaches of Mervyn Frost and Andrew Linklater


Af
terr
eve
ali
ngt
heHe
gel
ia
nmo
ment
sinRa
wls
’sa
ndHa
ber
mas
’sa
ccoun
tofi
nte
rna
ti
ona
l
ethics, now I shall explore if they can be dovetailed with other more Hegelian accounts in IR.
Tob
egi
nwi
th,wec
anf
indno
tabl
epoi
ntso
fcont
actb
etwe
enRa
wls
’sa
ndMe
rvy
nFr
ost
’s
account of international ethics. Just like Rawls takes people to be the basic unit of moral
concern in international ethics, Frost takes the state to be the basic unit. 22 There is a slight

21
Ra wl swr ites:“Al lsoci
e t
iesunde rg
og ra dualc hang es,an dt hisisn oles strueo fde centsoci
e tiestha nof
others. Liberal peoples should not suppose that decent societies are unable to reform themselves in their own
wa y.
”( Rawl s1 999a, 61 )
22
Fros twrites:“ Wha ti sbeinga rguedi sthatind ividualsa nds ta t
esmus tha vesome mo r
a lp
osition…. ”( Frost
1996, 47, empha sisint heoriginal)“ Isimp lycont endt hat any discussion about what ought to be done in world
po l
it
ics …mus tbec onduc te
di nthel anguageoft hemode rns tates ystem.Noo t
he rsuita
blelangua g eis
av a
ilab l
e.”(Fr ost19 96, 90)

26
di
ff
ere
nce
,thoug
h:Wh
ileRa
wls
’spe
opl
e-centric approach can be justified by appealing to a
nofs
Hegelian notio oci
alu
nion,Fr
ost
’ss
tat
e-centric approach is justified by appealing to a

con
sti
tut
ivet
heo
ry”ofi
ndi
vid
ual
it
y,whi
chi
sal
sod
eri
vedl
arg
elyf
rom He
gel
.Thec
ruxof
this constitutive theory is expressed in the following statement:

It is only in the state that individuality can be fully realized. Both [Hegel and Charvet]
support this contention by examining how our individuality is partially constituted by
subordinate wholes, like family and civil society, and by showing how the shortcomings
of the subordinate institutions are overcome by subsequent and higher institutions. This
dialectical process then culminates in the state. (Frost 1996, 142)

For Frost, at the international level the state is an individual vis-à-vis other states, and for
Hegelt
hes
tat
e’
sindi
vidua
li
tyi
sma
nif
est
edi
nit
sau
tono
myvi
s-à-vis other states. Frost infers
f
romt
hist
hat“
fort
hei
rci
ti
zen
shi
ptobef
ull
yac
tua
li
zedt
hei
rst
aten
eedst
ober
ecog
niz
edby
ot
hers
tat
esa
saut
ono
mous
.”(
Fro
st19
96,15
1)Thu
s,Fr
ostt
ake
sth
e“mod
erns
tat
edoma
inof
di
scou
rse
”tobet
hes
tar
ti
ngpoi
ntofh
ist
heor
y.Toj
ust
if
yhi
sst
art
ingpoi
nt,Fr
osti
nvo
kes
Ro
nal
dDwor
kin’
sme
thodof“
set
tl
ingc
ont
est
edi
ssu
esbya
rgu
ment
”.Thi
sme
tho
dre
sembl
es
that of Rawls in many ways: First, it regards the main task of normative theory as
constructing the best possible background justification for settled body of norms.23 Second,
f
ort
hisp
urpos
ewemu
stb
egi
nwi
th“
wha
teve
ryon
eknows
”ande
mpl
oyRa
wls
’sme
thodof
reflective equilibrium to render an initially not fully coherent body of norms more coherent
(Frost 1996, 93-104).
AsMol
lyCoc
hra
npo
int
sout
,“He
gel
’sph
ilos
ophyi
sana
ffi
rma
tiv
eme
thod
olog
ica
l
e
xer
cis
e,”a
ndFr
ost
’sa
ppr
oac
hexhi
bit
sth
isHe
gel
ia
ncha
rac
ter
ist
ici
ntha
thes
ugg
est
s:“
We
must begin with what we have. A normative theory of a social world constructed out of the
thin air is no good for us. Normative goals must be instructed by reality, and reality for IR at
pr
ese
nti
sawor
ldofs
tat
es.
”(Coc
hra
n199
9,101
)Li
keRa
wls
’st
he law of peoples, there is

23
The settled norms include eighteen norms that represent international consensus on four issues
areas—sovereignty, international law, modernization, and democracy and human rights (Frost 1996, 111-2).

27
certainly a good sense of realism in taking this state of the world (as a world of states) as the
s
tar
ingpo
intofi
nte
rna
tion
ale
thi
cs.Butt
othee
xte
ntt
hatFr
ost
’sme
tho
dofj
ust
if
ica
ti
on
exhibits the Hegelian affirmative character, his theory is also often faulted for being oriented
to the status quo.I
tisc
ons
ide
redt
obet
ooc
ons
erva
ti
vei
ntha
t“hi
sst
art
ingpo
intwi
thi
n
contemporary international practice leaves no space for imagining new institutional
pos
sibi
li
ti
es.
”(Cochran 1999, 109) It should be noted, however, that Frost may avoid this
charge by claiming that he is not committed to holding that life in states is the only proper life
for human beings, or that the way that states are organized at present is the best way of
organizing them (Frost 1996, 90) In fact, Frost even argues that we must not rule out the
j
ust
if
iabi
li
tyofawo
rlds
tat
e.ForFr
ost
,awo
rlds
tat
ecou
ldbej
ust
if
ied“
ifi
tca
mea
bou
t
t
hroug
hth
evol
unt
arya
cti
onofa
lls
ove
rei
gns
tat
es.
”(Fr
ost1
996, 157)
It is ironic to witness that a statist approach to international ethics could be more open
to the possibility of a world state than most cosmopolitan approaches. Nonetheless, how a
wor
lds
tat
ewi
llc
omea
bou
tisbe
yondFr
ost
’sc
onc
ern
.Ina
ddi
ti
on,although Frost regards his
s
tar
ti
ngpoi
ntt
obe
,asCoc
hra
npu
tsi
t,i
na“
dia
lec
ti
calpr
oce
ssofc
hang
e”(
Coc
hra
n1999
,
106
),t
he“
mot
or”oft
hisdi
al
ect
ic
s,i
.e
.thel
ackoff
itbe
twe
enn
orma
ndb
ackg
roun
dth
eor
y,i
s
nevertheless inadequately dialectical. An adequately dialectical account must, in my opinion,
e
nta
ila s
oci
ology or pol
it
ica
lec
onomy t
hat“
expl
ai
ns t
he e
mpi
ri
cal pr
oce
sse
s of
t
ran
sfor
mat
ionf
rom onet
ypeo
fint
ers
oci
et
alf
ormt
oanot
her
.”(
Coc
hra
n1999
,103
)Th
is
24
takes us to Linklater appropr
iat
ionofHe
gel
’sdi
al
ect
ic
swi
thr
ega
rdt
oint
erna
ti
ona
let
hic
s.
Like Frost, who traces the constitution of individuality in a hierarchy of institutions
within the state, Linklater traces the development of human freedom in a succession of ever
more rational social institutions, starting with tribal societies (Linklater 1990, 171-82;
Cochran 1999, 81-3). In this evolutionary process, each prior form has certain degree of
rationality, and each stage contributes to the improvement of human freedom. Specifically, the
state replaces kinship relations and custom with legal and political society, which treats

24
Mydi
scu
ssi
onofLi
nkl
ate
r’sa
ccou
ntd
rawsh
eav
ilyonCoc
hra
n’sa
nal
ysi
s(Coc
hra
n199
9,c
h.3
).

28
citizens equally under the law; it is thus considered to be a higher stage of freedom (Linklater
1990a, 182, quoted in Cochran 1999, 83). But unlike Frost who seems to suggest that the
modern state already provides the individual with the basis for human freedom, Linklater
finds the modern state an inadequate institution in that it exhibits paradoxical character: “
on
the one hand, it is the site on which radical intensifications of social control have been
established but, on the other hand, it has been the setting for unprecedented efforts to
eradicate the tyranny of unjust exclusion.”(Linklater 1998, 146-7) To overcome this paradox
the modern state and the international society must undergo substantial transformations.
Linklater offers three alternative frameworks: a pluralist society of states, a solidarist society
of states, and a post-Westphalian framework (Linklater 1998, 166-7).25
s account appears to suggest that the sequence of “
On the face of it, Linklater’ kin,
tribe, city, state”would eventually be completed by “ . 26 The universalism and
world”
progressivism implicit in this sequence are bound to be vulnerable to Chris Brown’
s criticism
of cultural imperialism (Brown 1995). But Linklater is quite aware of the totalizing tendency
of a universalistic project. He tries to avoid this quagmire by asserting that each of the three
aforementioned frameworks “
strikes the balance between the universal and the particular in a
distinctive way”and thus all three frameworks make positive contribution to the creation of a

universal communication community”(Linklater 1998, 176, 167). At one point Linklater
even acknowledges that one should not assume that the post-Westphalian arrangements are
the destination that all communities should strive to reach (Linklater 1998, 167). Nonetheless,
his discussion of the problem of exclusionary sovereignty state and citizenship in the
post-Westphalian state (Linklater 1998, ch. 6) suggests that he deems the post-Westphalian
framework as the most progressive order. Yet, as students of the English School observe,

25
A pluralist society of states is a framework in which “ the constitutive principles aim to preserve respect for
the freedom and equality of independent political communities.”A solidarist society of states is a framework in
which states “ have reached an agreement about a range of moral principles such as individual human rights,
minority rights, responsibilities for nature and duties to other species.”A post-Westphalian order is a framework
in which sovereignty, territoriality and citizenship no longer immediately associated with the concept of the state
(Linklater 1998, 167-8).
26
This sequence is borrowed from Brown (1995, 101).

29

while states in the modern world can agree on the principles of a pluralist international
society, they do not exhibit a common desire to establish more solidarist arrangements.”
(Linklater 1998, 173) This observation suggests that Linklater’
s aspiration for a
post-Westphalian framework needs a justification.
Linklater justifies his vision by arguing that the movement toward the

post-exclusionary states”is an answer to the “
universal rationales”that is inherent in the
modern idea of citizenship. Like Habermas, who submits that the universalism of
republicanism will eventually part company with the particularism of nationalism, Linklater
also argues that the universal principle underpinning the modern idea of citizenship
contradicts the exclusive nature of the nation-state and thus the tension inherent in this idea
creates the possibility of advances beyond the sovereign state (Linklater 1998, 191-3) To the
extent Linklater’
s argument resembles that of Habermas, however, it is subject to the criticism
leveled against Habermas’
s ideal of constitutional patriotism that I have discussed earlier. In
addition, even if we concede that the idea of citizenship provides the “
moral r
eso
urc
es”that
make the movement toward a post-Westphalian order possible, we still need a more
dialectical account of how this ideal can be realized. Yet Li
nkl
ate
r’sa
ccount
, compared with
Ha
ber
mas
’s, falls short of being adequately dialectical due to its inadequate attention to the
material conditions of possibility.27 To remedy this weakness, we may need to go back to
Habermas’
s analysis.
Like Linklater, Habermas finds a universalistic momentum toward a more abstract
form of social integration in the process of evolution from village and clan to dynasty to
t
nation-sat
e;hea
lsor
ega
rds“
car
ryi
ngo
nthi
spr
oce
sswi
thaf
urt
hera
bst
rac
ti
ves
tep”t
obe
ourt
ask(
Habe
rma
s200
1,1
8)Bu
tHa
ber
mas
’sa
cco
unti
smo
redi
al
ect
ic
alt
hanLi
nkl
ate
r’si
n
t
hati
texa
mine
sth
epr
oce
sst
hroug
hth
ele
nso
f“t
hes
ubt
ledy
nami
coft
heop
eni
ng,a
nd
r
ene
wedc
los
ure
,ofs
oci
all
yint
egr
ate
dli
fewor
ld”(
Habe
rma
s20
01,81
).Se
eingt
hro
ught
his
lens, globalization is regarded as an impulse toward opening that provides individuals with

27
Ibo rrowt h i
side
af r
om wha tHut chingsc
all
s“p
heno
meno
log
ica
lade
qua
cy”(
Hut
chi
ngs1999,
xii
i-xiv) but
reverse her argument to contrary effect.

30
new possibilities and freedom on the one hand while increases their risk of making mistakes
on the other. But to the extent that lifeworlds disintegrate under the pressure of opening, they
must close themselves again with expanded horizon (Habermas 2001, 83). For Habermas, the
a
new closure should not be a return to the so-cll
ed“
fir
stmo
der
nit
y”i
nwh
ichna
ti
on,c
las
s
and state were the most important components. Rather, the challenge is to strike a balance
between opening and closure (Habermas 2001, 86-8) Habermas tests the conditions of
possibility of this new closure by the case of the European Union. Here we need not go
through his analysis in detail; it suffices to note that his analysis finally leads to the
conclusion, as I have pointed out earlier, that a cosmopolitan community is premature in that
it is dependent on a civic solidarity that has yet to be achieved at the global level. This
di
al
ect
ic
ala
nal
ysi
sir
oni
cal
lys
ugg
est
stha
tFr
ost
’ss
tar
ti
ngpoint of international ethics, i.e. the
modern state domain of discourse, is not an unreasonable one.
Th
erei
son
ewe
akne
ssi
nFr
ost
’st
heor
yth
atne
edst
obec
orr
ect
ed,howe
ver
.Li
ke
Ra
wls
’st
heor
y,Fr
ost
’st
heo
rya
lsoe
xhi
bit
sthet
rai
tofpa
ter
nal
is
m.This is evident in his use
of the chess-playing metaphor: Frost divides the world into two kinds of states— developed
t
states and quasi-sat
es,wi
tht
hef
orme
rli
ken
edt
o“i
nit
ia
tes
”an
dthel
at
te
r“nov
ice
s”i
nthe
chess game (Sutch 2001, 127). By this metaphor, admission of a new state to the international
society is likened to the process of an initiate teaching a novice to the game (Frost 1996,
154-5). This approach to recognition is paternalistic in that the relationship between the
initiator and the novice is plainly unequal and the novice is merely a passive receiver of the
r
uleoft
heg
ame
.Thepa
ter
nal
is
minFr
ost
’sa
ccoun
tiss
imi
la
rtot
hato
fRa
wls
,andIh
ave
a
rgue
dtha
tthewe
akne
sso
fpa
ter
nal
is
mca
nbeov
erc
omebya
ppl
yingHa
ber
mas
’smor
e
dialogical approach to international ethics. Such a dialogical approach has been adumbrated
byLi
nkl
ate
rinhi
sappr
opr
iat
ionofHa
ber
mas
’sdi
scou
rsee
thi
cs(
Linkl
at
er1
998
,ch.3;
.I
Linklater 2005) ts
houl
d beno
ted,h
owe
ver
,th
atLi
nkl
at
er’
sac
coun
tiso
ntol
ogically
individualistic while the dialogical approach I have in mind is a statist one. Hence, how

31
Ha
ber
mas
’sdi
sco
urs
eet
hic
sist
obea
ppl
ie
dtor
ela
tio
nsa
mongs
tat
esr
ema
insas
ubj
ectt
obe
explored. But due to the space limits, I shall leave this task for future exploration.28

Conclusion: Toward a Hegelian Synthesis


Iha
ves
hownb
othRa
wls
’sa
ndHa
ber
mas
’sa
ccoun
tso
fin
ter
nat
iona
let
hic
sar
ecompa
ti
ble
with the Hegelian approaches of Mervyn Frost and Andrew Linklater. Now I shall further
explore if it isp
oss
ibl
etos
ubs
umeRa
wls
’sa
ndHa
ber
mas
’st
heo
rie
sofi
nte
rna
ti
ona
let
hic
sin
a broadly Hegelian approach. Before proceeding, we must consider a potential objection to
s
ucha
nen
dea
vor
:tha
tRa
wls
’sph
ilos
oph
ica
lent
erpr
isei
ssor
adi
cal
lyd
iff
ere
ntf
rom
Ha
ber
mas
’st
hatt
heyc
annotbes
ubs
ume
dino
neg
ran
dth
eor
y.Imu
sta
ckno
wle
dget
hataf
ull
rejoinder to this objection is beyond my intellectual capacity. But I am skeptical of the claim
that the divide between the two philosophers cannot be bridged. My optimism is based on the
fact that Rawls and Habermas, albeit explicitly disagree with each other in their exchange
(Rawls 1996, Lecture IX; Habermas 1998, chs. 2 & 3), both adopt a two-stage approach to
or
theory-f ma
ti
on,i
.e
.:“
Thepr
inc
ipl
esj
ust
if
ieda
t the first stage must be exposed to public
29
di
scus
sion a
tth
ese
cond s
tag
e.”(
Habe
rma
s19
98a
,61) This suggests that the divide

28
Many students of IR have embarked on such an exploration. Notable examples include Risse (2000), Payne
(2000), Müller (2001), Lynch (2002), Steffek (((2003), Risse (2004), Mitzen (2005).
29
What Habermas calls “ two-stage approach”refers to Rawls’ s four-stage sequence concerning the formation
and application of the principles of justice, which Rawls describes in his A Theory of Justice, §31 (Rawls 1971,
195-201). Rawls summarizes this sequences in his exchange with Habermas as follows: “ We begin in the
original position where the parties select the principles of justice; next, we move to a constitutional convention
where—seeing ourselves as delegates—we are to draw up the principles and rules of a constitution in the light of
the principles of justice already on hand. After this we become, as it were, legislators enacting laws as the
constitution allows and as the principles of justice requires and permit; and finally, we assume the role of judges
interpreting the constitution and laws as members of the judiciary.”(Rawls 1996, 398) The crux of this
four-stage sequence is that citizens’conception of justice is not decided by abstract reasoning in the original
position once and for all; rather, “ it is you and I—and so all citizens over time, one by one and in associations
here and there—who judge the merits of the original position as a device of representation and the principles it
yields.”(Rawls 1996, 383, fn. 14) Habermas’ s interpretation of Rawls’ s four-stage sequence is quite illuminating:
“ The theory as a whole must be subjected to criticism by the citizens in the public forum of reason. In this forum
it is no longer the fictional citizens of a just society about whom statements are made within the theory but real
citizens of flesh and blood.”(Habermas 1998a, 61, emphasis in the original) It should be noted, however, that the
purpose of Habermas’ s interpretation is to show that Rawls’ s framework prioritizes “ the liberal rights of the
moderns over the democratic of process (or the liberties of the ancients) (Habermas 1998a, 69). Though Rawls
denies Habermas’ s charge, he does not dispute the “ two-stage”characterization of his approach (Rawls 1996,
396-9). On the other hand, Habermas may want to deny that he also adopts a two-stage approach to
theory-formation. But as Rawls rightly points out, Habermas’ s appeal to the ideal speech situation in fact

32
between the two philosophers may be narrower than it appears to be. Thus Christopher
McMahon does not go far wrong to conclude: “
when the moral theories of Habermas and
Rawls are examined more fully, it can be seen that these two procedures of moral thinking are
not in competition with each other. Rawls can make use of Habermas’
s procedure, and
Habermas could employ a theoretical device that plays the role of Rawls’
s original position.”
(McMahon 2002, 111)30
Bu
ild
ingo
nthi
sobs
erva
tio
n,Ipr
opos
ead
ivi
si
ono
fla
borbe
twe
enRa
wls
’sa
nd
Ha
ber
mas
’sa
ccoun
tofi
nte
rna
tio
nale
thi
cs:Webe
ginl
arg
elywi
thRa
wls
’spe
opl
e-centric or
statist approach that he lay out in The Law of Peoples. But as I proposed elsewhere (Lin 2006,
ch. 2), the line between ideal theory and non-ideal theory is drawn in parallel with Seyla
Be
nha
bib
’sd
ist
inc
ti
onbe
twe
ent
hes
tan
dpo
into
fth
ege
ner
ali
zedot
hera
ndthe standpoint of
the concrete other (Benhabib 1992, 158-9; Benhabib 1994, 179-87). 31 In this revised
Rawlsian framework, parties to the international original position should adopt the standpoint
of the generalized other, and so there is no need to distinguish different kinds of peoples or
societies; instead representatives of all peoples are included in the deliberation and selection
of the principles of international justice. Since the principles are now selected by all and not
only by liberal peoples, this revision should be able to correct the paternalistic bias of The
Law of Peoples. But since the parties do not know the identity of their regime behind a thick
veil of ignorance, they will select well-established norms such as sovereign equality and
non-intervention and not controversial norms such as rights to democracy or a difference
principle applied at the global level. For cosmopolitans, such a law of peoples would be too

presupposes five values, i.e. impartiality, equality, openness, lack of coercion, and unanimity, thus Habermas
does not leave all substantive questions open to discussion. In other words, some matters are presumably “ settled
by philosophical analysis of the moral point of view.”(Rawls 1996, 425-6) For these reasons, I believe that both
Rawls and Habermas adopt a two-stage approach to theory-formation.
30
In fact, in his discussion of the immigration policy of Germany, Habermas explicitly invokes Rawls’ s
“thought experiment of the original position”to illustrate what he calls “ the moral point of view”(Habermas
1996, 511-2).
31
The crux of the distinction is summarized in this statement: “ According to the standpoint of the generalized
other, each individual is a moral person endowed with the same moral rights as ourselves; s/he is capable of a
sense of justice, of formulating a vision of the good, and of engaging in activity to pursue the latter. The
standpoint of the concrete other, however, enjoins us to view every moral person as a unique individual, with a
certain life history, disposition, and endowment, as well as needs and limitations.”(Benhabib 1994, 179)

33
thin or too conservative. Yet, from a Hegelian (and a communitarian) point of view, this is the
price we need to pay in order to avoid paternalism. Cosmopolitans need not be disappointed
by this Hegelian approach, though, for their aspiration for democracy, human rights and just
distribution at the global level can be expressed in the international public political forum
when we move from ideal theory (the first stage) to nonideal theory (the second stage), where
Habermasian discourse ethics can be applied. It should be noted, however, that parties to this
forum must appeal to public reason, at the core of which is the criterion of reciprocity. And at
the global level the criterion of reciprocity applies mainly among states, for the public
political culture at the global level treats states and not individuals as equals. This emphasis
on the reciprocity among states will forbid the use of force to promote democracy and human
rights; instead, it calls for international dialogues in which liberal and nonliberal states can
learn from each other.
This new approach is a Hegelian synthesis in that it both entails a Kantian moment
and a Hegelian moment. The Kantian moment is expressed in the use of the original position
at the international level. The Hegelian moment is expressed in the movement from the
abstract (the first stage) to the concrete (the second stage) and a concrete analysis of the
conditions of possibility. For cosmopolitans, this synthesis may appear to be advantageous to
the communitarian position and thus it has not gone beyond the divide between
cosmopolitanism and communitarianism. But I hope I have made it clear in this paper that a
full account of international ethics cannot do without Hegelian moments, and the Hegelian
moment can sit well with the Kantian moment in a broadly Hegelian approach, which
subsumes the two moments in the division of labor of the two-stage theory formation.

34
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