Kissed by Minerva: On Stanley Hoffmann’s Ethical Theory of International Politics

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Stanley Hoffmann’s unique concern with the ethics of international relations is widely recognised.[151] Hoffmann was unique in his insistence on the normative function of theory at a time when IR, certainly in the United States, predominantly separated explanatory and normative theorising. Remarkably, he sought to identify the nexus of these two types of theorising, arguing that they were ultimately inseparable. This put him at odds with IR theorists as well as normative (international) political theorists. Examining Hoffmann’s engagement with Raymond Aron’s work, with the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and his thinking partnership with the political theorist Judith Shklar, this essay shows Hoffmann as an IR theorist who transcended the confines of his own era. His work remains inspirational and, as I point up, there are reasons to think his influence will only grow.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Specialist publicationInternational Security Studies Forum
Publication statusPublished - 08 Apr 2022


  • Stanley Hoffmann
  • Raymond Aron
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Judith Shklar
  • International Ethics
  • International Relations


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