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'Human nature', science and international political theory

Brown, Chris ORCID: 0000-0003-3478-7246 (2013) 'Human nature', science and international political theory. Journal of International Relations and Development, 16 (4). pp. 435-454. ISSN 1408-6980

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Identification Number: 10.1057/jird.2013.17


The Post-War rise in importance of the individual in international political theory, as evidenced by the development of the international human rights regime, International Criminal Law and theories of global justice, has, paradoxically, been accompanied by an highly critical approach to the concept of human nature. Criticisms of human nature largely rest on the association of the concept of with social Darwinism, racism, sexism and eugenics, but, understood properly and at the right level of generality, the concept of human nature need not attract such undesirable, pseudo-scientific bedfellows. The modern science of evolutionary psychology is in the process of changing our understanding of the social implications of our genetic inheritance, and social and political theorists ought not to resist this change, and international relations scholars should not leave the field to realist scholars. Premature generalisations based on the findings of evolutionary psychology should certainly be resisted, but so should blanket rejections of the new knowledge. The task for international political theorists is to find a way of integrating the findings of the new human sciences into a humane understanding of the human animal.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2013 11:43
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:42

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