In his chapter Raymond Plant, with the gentle trailing of the cloak, writes: ‘It seems fairly obvious that a rights-based theory would be most congenial for someone who wanted to think about intervention’.2 Other chapters have invited us to think of alternative starting places for an analysis of the ethics of intervention: realism offers us interest or prudence; the morality of states offers us rights, not of individuals but of states; and the Aristotelian position offers us virtues, in particular the virtue of humanity. These are rival and perfectly legitimate starting points for a theory justifying intervention, or non-intervention. Nevertheless, as will be seen below, the rights thesis is the most challenging one and the one to which the strongest antithesis should be offered.


International Society International Relation Political Theory Sovereign State International Order 
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  1. 3.
    See A. Gewirth, ‘The Epistemology of Human Rights’, in E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller, Jr., and J. Paul (eds), Human Rights (Oxford, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    See M. Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (Harmondsworth, 1980).Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    See C. Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations (Princeton, 1979).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Vincent
  • Peter Wilson

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