The Liberal Cosmopolitanism of Thomas Paine
Dr Robert Lamb
Date: 14 November 2013
Location: 0.22, 65-68 Park Place
A public lecture by Dr Robert Lamb (University of Exeter).
This paper offers an interpretation of Thomas Paine’s unduly neglected political theory, focusing in particular on his account of international relations. I argue that in addition to the cosmopolitanism prominent in his thought, there is also a clear commitment to national sovereignty. This commitment presents a real tension between the universalistic rights of individuals and the particularistic rights of nations. I argue that this tension is resolved by viewing national sovereignty as conditional on the adoption of a liberal constitution and then consider the implications of this resolution for Paine’s theory of international relations, specifically whether it contains an account of liberal intervention and a commitment to global justice.
This event was organised by our Political Theory Research Unit.
All welcome to attend.