Moral Interventions

  • K. M. Fierke


Social science has assumed a distinction between empirical statements about reality as it is and normative statements about how the world ought to be. Realists who claim to work with the world as it is, also make this distinction. In this view, the empirical reality is one of power politics; thus neither moral principle, ethical action nor legal codification is ultimately important at the international level. In the absence of any overarching authority, states are guided by their national interest rather than moral principle. War is a brute reality and the attempt to introduce norms is a mere add on, growing out of a desire to alter the unalterable. However, if war is viewed as a social artifact, then its practice is no less permeated with moral and normative restrictions than more explicit moral or humanitarian efforts to limit it.1


Moral Reasoning Security Council Armed Conflict Geneva Convention International Peace 
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Copyright information

© K. M. Fierke 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Fierke
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and International StudiesQueen’s UniversityBelfastIreland

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