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Hume's Theory of Justice$
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Jonathan Harrison

Print publication date: 1980

Print ISBN-13: 9780198246190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246190.001.0001

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Of the Laws of Nations

Of the Laws of Nations

(p.229) Section XI Of the Laws of Nations
Hume's Theory of Justice

Jonathan Harrison

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the following: (1) Atomic weapons may mean that Hume is no longer right in thinking that rules of justice are less necessary for nations than for individuals. A Humean account of the necessity of world government. (2) Actions of nations must be reduced to actions of individuals. Private injustice individually less harmful, and only collectively more harmful, than injustice between nations. Irrationality of the usual attitude to the latter. (3) The connection between the moral obligation and the natural obligation (depending upon interest) to obey the laws of nations. (4) The degrees of stringency of obligations and duties. (5) Duty and knowledge of the practice of the world.

Keywords:   atomic weapons, justice, laws of nations, world government, private injustice, moral obligation, natural obligation, duties

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