Political Philosophy in a Globalizing World

Terry Nardin

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Political Philosophy in a Globalizing World

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Social and Political Philosophy



Political philosophy in a globalizing world is not confined to thinking about globalization. “Globalization” is identified with economic trends such as the internationalization of commerce and finance, cultural trends such as the spread of English, and political trends such as the erosion of state sovereignty and the emergence of transnational policy networks. If globalization means increasing interdependence—moral, economic, and ecological—it invites reflection on how this interdependence is affecting the study of political philosophy. Subsequent debates over the role of great powers, the threat or advantages of empire, the role of the United Nations, and the lessons of the European Union have continued the line of inquiry begun by Immanuel Kant. With globalization, however, debate has moved away from confederation to focus on the idea of constitutionalism without the state. Contra Karl Marx, the point of philosophy is to understand the world, not to change it. Political philosophy in this sense is only one part of “political thought,” most of which in any society is politics itself under another name.

Keywords: political philosophy; globalization; politics; political thought; constitutionalism; state

Article.  5946 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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