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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 20, 2004

War and Terrorism

Walter Riker
Pages 137-153

Rawls’s Decent Peoples and the Democratic Peace Thesis

In The Law of Peoples, Rawls defends the stability of his proposed international order with the democratic peace thesis. But he fails to extend this thesis to decent peoples, which is curious, since they are a non-temporary feature of his law of peoples. This opens Rawls’s proposal to certain objections, which I argue can be met once we understand fully the nature of the democratic peace. Nevertheless, there is reason to worry about the stability of Rawls’s proposed international order. This worry has little to do with decent peoples, though, and is generated by other features of his law of peoples.

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