Ethics & International Affairs Volume 2 (1988): Articles: Neo-Idealism: A Practical Matter [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1988

The classical realist world view places moral standards subservient to the power concerns of international actors. Realists did not make this valuation without some hesitation, as the issue of morality was addressed with seriousness and concern. The neo-realist thinking of today embraces with less hesitation the ultimate conclusion of the realist premises: statesmen never act according to moral precepts, thus such concerns need not be addressed by a political theory. Kegly argues the neo-idealist position that opposes this empirical observation: states consistently act according to values that are based on more than power concerns. Kegley's primary intent is to show that neo-realism ignores factors that influence international actors, and that a theory is needed that expands the notion of self-interest to include the moral sphere.

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