This book collects works of fundamental importance by the late Professor Martin Wight about the theory and political philosophy of international relations.
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This book collects works by the late Professor Martin Wight (1913-1972), an historian and scholar of international relations.
He conducted research on many topics, including British colonial history, European studies, international institutions, and the history and sociology of states-systems. He is nonetheless best known for his teaching about the political philosophy of international relations at the London School of Economics (1949-1961) and the University of Sussex (1961-1972). He is widely regarded as an intellectual ancestor and path-breaker of the 'English School' of international relations, even though this
term only gained currency nine years after his death. While there is no generally accepted definition of the 'English School', it is usually construed as signifying an approach to the study of international relations more rooted in historical and humanistic learning than in the social sciences. Wight's
achievements are consistent with this broad definition.
This volume includes works in four categories: (a) traditions of thinking about international relations since the sixteenth century; (b) the causes and functions of war; (c) international and regime legitimacy; and (d) fortune and irony in international politics. In addition to classic essays such as 'Why Is There No International Theory?' and 'Western Values in International Relations' that complement his posthumous 1991 book International Theory: The Three Traditions, this volume includes
previously unpublished works on international legitimacy and the causes of war. Wight's analysis of legitimacy examines the evolution of thinking from dynastic to popular approaches, while his work on the causes of war builds on Thucydides and Hobbes.