Peace beyond Compromise

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (4):573-593 (2013)
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Our societies are marked not only by disagreements on the good life, but also by disagreements on justice. This motivates philosophers as divergent as John Gray and Chandran Kukathas to focus their normative political theories on peace instead of justice. In this article, I discuss how peace should be conceived if peace is to be a more realistic goal than justice, not presupposing any moral consensus. I distinguish two conceptions of peace to be found in the literature. One, ordinary peace, conceives of peace as non-violent coexistence based on modus vivendi arrangements. Modus vivendi arrangements, in turn, are explained as a special kind of compromise. Ordinary peace does not presuppose any moral consensus and is therefore realistic, but at the same time it is too minimalist and undemanding to be satisfying. The other conception of peace, ambitious peace, can be found in Kukathas’s work. It is a conception of peace ‘beyond compromise’, not minimalist and undemanding, but, I will argue, not realistic because presupposing at least a second-order moral consensus. In the end, I advocate a division of labour between both conceptions of peace under the umbrella of an overarching ideal of peace.



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Fabian Wendt
Virginia Tech

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Liberalism Without Perfection.Jonathan Quong - 2010 - Oxford University Press.

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