Ethics & International Affairs Volume 5 (1991): Special Section on Ethical Traditions and World Change: Normative Prudence as a Tradition of Statecraft [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1991

Ethical dilemmas of international relations have led to two distinct principles of thought, as presented in this article. The Western tradition has generally advocated the distinct differences between politics and morality, though asserting that the former is grounded on the latter. The "normative prudence" school of Aristotle, Aquinas, Burke, and Niebuhr interlink a nation's morality and politics in an ethical and pragmatic statecraft of nations. Realists such as Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, on the other hand, divorce the two, maintaining that "prudence" is the most vital element in the political realm. Realists argue that politics supersedes morality and is upheld through self-interest as the pure search for the truly good. Both views spotlight the individual citizen as the center of moral society yet differ on the importance of the means and ends of statecraft and political adroitness of leaders. Adhering to Aristotelian views, Coll clearly advocates the notion that "moral principles are ultimately realized only in specific acts which human beings choose to carry out." The author cites Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill as examples of leaders whose moral wisdom in political reasoning led to remarkable statecraft explicitly derived from prudence.

To read or purchase the full text of this article, click here.

You may also like

MAR 15, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 36.1 (Spring 2022)

The highlight of this issue is a roundtable organized by Jesse Kirkpatrick on moral injury, trauma, and war, featuring contributions by Jesse Kirkpatrick, Daniel Rothenberg, ...

JAN 4, 2022 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 35.4 (Winter 2021)

The issue features a book symposium organized by Michael Blake on Anna Stilz's "Territorial Sovereignty," with contributions from Adom Getachew; Christopher Heath Wellman; and Michael ...

OCT 29, 2021 Journal

Ethics & International Affairs Volume 35.3 (Fall 2021)

The highlight of this issue is a book symposium organized by Peter Balint on Ned Dobos’s "Ethics, Security, and the War Machine," featuring contributions ...

Not translated

This content has not yet been translated into your language. You can request a translation by clicking the button below.

Request Translation