In the lead essay of this symposium, Michael Ignatieff offers a characteristic blend of philosophical acuteness and political good sense on a topic that, we can all agree, is central to many of the most important questions on the contemporary political and international agenda. His analysis is prescient, challenging, and deserves pondering at some length; thus, in this short response I cannot deal with it in anything like the detail it deserves. But the enforced brevity is perhaps an advantage as well, in that it forces me to concentrate on where I differ from Ignatieff and on my own sense of what we might imply when we use such a term as “a global ethic.”
(Online publication April 10 2012)
Nicholas Rengger is Professor of Political Theory and International Relations at St Andrews University and a Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellow. He has served on the Governing Council of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House, and was chair of the International Ethics Section of the International Studies Association. He also served as editor of the Review of International Studies from 2006 to 2010. He has published on many aspects of political philosophy, intellectual history, and international relations. His most recent book is a study of the ambiguity of the modern just war tradition, titled State of War (forthcoming), and he is currently working on a series of studies of political theory and world order. firstname.lastname@example.org
* I am grateful to the editors of Ethics & International Affairs for the invitation to contribute this response, to Michael Ignatieff for his excellent lecture and the animated conversation following, and to my fellow Global Ethics Fellows (as it were) for the good companionship and conversation as we started the journey.