SAVING THE INNOCENT, THEN AND NOW: VITORIA, DOMINION AND WORLD ORDER

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Abstract:

Francisco de Vitoria is regularly included in the genealogy of humanitarian intervention. He is invoked as both historical precedent and legitimizing authority, which raises the question of his trans-historical relevance in contemporary debates on humanitarian intervention. This article argues that Vitoria's thinking about defending the innocent cannot be abstracted from his theology and remain coherent. Specifically, it argues that the illocutionary force of his position is entirely lost once it is separated from the belief that man is created in the image of God. The article concludes by arguing that Vitoria's thought has little prescriptive value in contemporary debates. Nevertheless, his thought is still worth engaging because it is suggestive of the kinds of questions that contemporary scholars must pose and answer, albeit in the circumstances of their own time and place

Keywords: Aquina; Innocent IV; Vitoria; cannibalism; dominion; empire; humanitarian intervention; international relations; justice; natural law; political theology; theology; world order

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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