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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 23, 2018

Andrew Essig
Pages 171-194

Power Reconsidered
A Moral Realist Perspective

The foundation of a Catholic international relations theory, known as Moral Realism, is that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and thus possess an inherent dignity. In conjunction with St. Thomas Aquinas’ conclusion that man is a political animal, hierarchies are established within societies and political power is exercised under the condition that a person’s dignity will not be violated. Extrapolating this to the next level, how do societies use their power in relation to one another in the absence of governing institutions? This essay will examine the concept of “power” from a Moral Realist perspective, utilizing a level of analysis approach in order to fill in a critical void in the current international relations theory.

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