Catholicism and Cosmopolitanism: the Confluence of Three Catholic Scholars and the Cosmopolitan Democrats on State Sovereignty and the Future of Global Governance
AbstractOne of the central questions in international relations today is how we should conceive of state sovereignty. The notion of sovereignty—’supreme authority within a territory’, as Daniel Philpott defines it—emerged after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 as a result of which the late medieval crisis of pluralism was settled. But recent changes in the international order, such as technological advances that have spurred globalization and the emerging norm of the Responsibility to Protect, have cast the notion of sovereignty into an unclear light. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the current debate regarding sovereignty by exploring two schools of thought on the matter: first, three Catholic scholars from the past century—Luigi Sturzo, Jacques Maritain, and John Courtney Murray, S.J.—taken as representative of Catholic tradition; second, a number of contemporary political theorists of cosmopolitan democracy. The paper argues that there is a confluence between the Catholic thinkers and the cosmopolitan democrats regarding their understanding of state sovereignty and that, taken together, the two schools have much to contribute not only to our current understanding of sovereignty, but also to the future of global governance.
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