Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Mitchell Haney

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Buchwalter

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Matheson

Department Chair

Dr. Mitchell Haney

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick


This thesis addresses primary concepts in the humanitarian intervention debates. I argue that humanitarian intervention is a perfect duty. The global community has a moral obligation to act decisively in the face of extreme human rights abuses. There are two contrasting theoretical perspectives regarding international relations and humanitarian intervention: statism and cosmopolitanism. These contrasting perspectives contest the relative value of state sovereignty and human rights. Some of the most prominent ethicists in the debate have determined states have a “right” to intervene militarily in the internal affairs of other states to halt severe human rights abuses but there is no “duty”to intervene. These conclusions are largely based upon consequentialist considerations. This thesis argues a deontological perspective is essential. References to events Rwanda, Darfur, and Kosovo are made. There is a critical role for preemptive actions to play in addressing humanitarian crises and calls for global justice.