Publication Date



Lori Gruen


Government, Philosophy


English (United States)


As our world becomes increasingly globalized and interconnected, the nature of our moral obligations has changed from applying only to ideologically or phenotypically similar groups to diverse peoples with no similarities aside from their common humanity. This shift in normative perspective underlies the question examined in this paper of the circumstances in which humanitarian interventions are legitimate. To address this issue, I explore conceptions of universal human rights to determine the rights whose violation justifies intervention, and state sovereignty as both a call to and limitation on intervention. I then consider states' moral obligations and the justifiable limits to such claims. I also analyze the role of the UN Security Council as exercising "right authority" to pass resolutions calling for the use of force. I conclude by assessing the intervention in Libya in 2011, highlighting the concepts of just cause, right authority, and calculations of harm.



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