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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Emergence and Extinction: innovation, progress and change Seminar - The Ethics of International Diplomacy: The Responsibility to Protect, Just War Theory, and the Duty to Criticise.

5th November 2014, 18:00 to 19:00, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Dr James Pattison (University of Manchester)

ABSTRACT: This paper presents the ethical case for diplomatic criticism as a response to mass atrocities and serious external aggression. It argues, in short, that states have a moral duty to criticise the offending parties. More specifically, it argues that diplomatic criticism is often a plausible and preferable alternative to other means (such as war and economic sanctions) of addressing serious external aggression and mass atrocities. It also argues that diplomatic criticism is preferable to doing nothing and that, even if other means are undertaken, states should engage in diplomatic criticism as well. There are two subsidiary aims of the paper. The first is to reject some of the worries surrounding international hypocrisy—I aim to show that even hypocritical diplomatic criticism may be obligatory. The second is to show that Just War Theory needs to take more seriously the ethical issues raised by the alternatives to war, such as diplomatic criticism.

BIO: James Pattison is Professor in Politics at the University of Manchester. His research interests currently lie in three related areas: (i) humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect (R2P); (ii) the use of private military and security companies, and (iii) Just War Theory and the alternatives to war. His first monograph, Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: Who Should Intervene? (Oxford University Press, 2010) was awarded a 'Notable Book Award' in 2011 by the International Studies Association (International Ethics Section) and has recently been published in paperback, with a new preface on the intervention in Libya. His second monograph is on the ethical issues surrounding the use of private military and security companies, The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies (Oxford University Press, 2014). He is currently working on an AHRC-funded project on the ethics of the alternatives to war (AHRC Ref AH/LOO3783/1). This considers the normative case for the alternatives to war, such as diplomatic criticism, arming rebel groups, and nonviolent resistance, and their relation to Just War Theory. He has published various articles on the ethics of force, including in the British Journal of Political Science, Ethics & International Affairs, International Theory, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Political Philosophy, and Review of International Studies.

Series details: Innovation emerges in all walks of life: in business, new products replace old ones; in art, new styles come into fashion; in science, new technologies supersede outmoded ones; in the environment, new species evolve and appear. Different academic disciplines have sought to test these or related propositions about the emergence and extinction of innovation. For some scholars, the emergence of innovation is explained through the diffusion process in which new ideas/products become popular, reach their tipping point and then decline. For others, their studies draw on models of evolution used in biological studies to map out the probability of reproductive selection amongst the population in evolutionary games. 

This interdisciplinary programme will explore different theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding how a subject emerges and subsequently declines. The aim is to look in more detail at how these processes unfold in different contexts: 

  • Understanding the emergence of diffusion of innovation and how innovative ideas propagate in space in a range of areas ranging from management, banking history, research innovation, linguistic changes to energy technologies;
  • The destructive potential of emergences (i.e. does the emergence of something invariably result in the destruction of something else);
  • The role of zeitgeist, or the spirit of the time, in the adoption of new products and ideas;
  • The threshold for mass adoption, and
  • The extent to which all emergences are necessarily temporary. 

This programme of activities will include: 

  1. Six monthly seminars. The monthly seminars are open to all including members of the public as well as practitioners, academic and policy users. Speakers include Dr James Pattison (University of Manchester), Professor Petra Ahrweiler (University College Dublin), Professor Mark Casson (University of Reading), Dr Stefan Heusinkveld (University Amsterdam); and Professor Mark O’Malley (University College Dublin). 
  2. A one-day symposium (spring 2015). This special event is open to all, but to register and request further information, please contact Dr Pojanath 

Contact for more information about this event.