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The responsibility to protect and the limits to moral progress: assessing ‘common humanity’ as a driver of state behaviour

Jarvis, Samuel ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1987-9751 (2018) The responsibility to protect and the limits to moral progress: assessing ‘common humanity’ as a driver of state behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

he philosophical and moral foundations of humanity’s relationship to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) have for a long time remained a largely overlooked element of the R2P literature. Whilst more recent scholarship has attempted to close this theoretical gap, it has most often focused on humanity as a moral benchmark in which to measure the current progress of the R2P against. However, what still remains highly contested is the extent to which humanity can in fact provide the significant normative weight and metaphysical heavy lifting for such moral arguments. In response to this lacuna, the thesis focuses on two central questions. Firstly, does the concept of humanity provide a sufficient justification for why states should have a moral responsibility to protect those threatened by mass atrocity crimes? Secondly, to what extent can humanity function as a motivational force able to mobilise states in support of the R2P principle? In addressing these two questions, the thesis provides a more comprehensive understanding of humanity through locating its significant dual function, thus reinforcing the critical role humanity plays in underpinning the moral foundations of the central R2P crimes, as well as challenging the extent to which humanity can also motivate states to act on its behalf. In this sense, the concept of humanity can be best understood as a motivational factor that diminishes in influence as the R2P principle is diffused into action. The thesis therefore provides the foundations for a more intuitive understanding of the complex motivational factors involved in generating collective responses to the threat of mass atrocity crimes. In doing so, it is argued that the ability to fundamentally address the current R2P implementation gap will require an approach that is more reflective of the way humanity interacts with competing moral, legal and political pressures at the global level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4035

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