Book Review: Other Areas: The Ethics of Capital Punishment: A Philosophical Investigation of Evil and Its Consequences

Published date01 May 2013
Date01 May 2013
Subject MatterBook Review
The heart of the text is a debate between two
opposing arguments about the way the Romans waged
war. Each book presents an argument divided into
thirteen chapters, f‌irst con then pro, like a legal argu-
ment presenting both sides of the case, although not
directly with Gentili himself, but rather by two perso-
nas – the con by someone from the same city as Gentili
and the pro by a Roman. Although the themes and
concepts of Machiavelli are present throughout De
armis Romanis, the only place he or any of his works are
actually directly referred to or quoted by the Roman is
in Book II, chapter 12, and the work is Machiavelli’s
Art of War.This is in the for m of a Socratic dialogue
rather than a treatise and it was the only work on
history or politics that was published in Machiavelli’s
lifetime. The similarities between Gentili’s text and
Machiavelli’s Art of War open some rather interesting
perspectives on the transmission of Machiavelli’s
thought in later political and legal thinking.
This bilingual critical edition and translation of De
armis Romanis makes it available for the f‌irst time in
English. The translation is a mainly faithful one from
the Latin, trying to keep as close to the original as
possible.The fact that to the left of the translation is a
critical edition of the Latin text with critical notes
gives this volume the feel that the Loeb edition gave to
classical Greek and Roman texts.And given the declin-
ing knowledge of Latin among scholars of international
law and the history of political thought, such editions
are of critical importance to allow future scholarship to
continue. Overall this edition is a masterpiece and will
be a very benef‌icial resource for future scholars.
Clifford Angell Bates Jr
(University of Warsaw)
Beyond Anarchy: The Complex and Chaotic
Dynamics of International Politics by Dylan
Kissane. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2011. 291pp.,
£34.90, ISBN 9783838202310
In this book Dylan Kissane explores how classical and
neo-realists have understood the international system
and the world order. By placing the concept of
‘anarchy’ at the centre of analysis, Kissane admits the
limitation of the neo-realist approach in international
relations and offers the alternative ‘theory of complex-
ity’. He argues that realism and its theoretical offspring
cannot fully comprehend current international politics,
characterised by non-state actors and regional (supra-
national) organisations. Thus, this alternative theory
expands the def‌inition of international political actors
from traditional states to a variety of actors which have
‘the ability to control or inf‌luence another actor’ (p.
210).The complex theory therefore dismisses the argu-
ment that states are the dominant actors in interna-
tional politics. On the contrary, it argues that states are
rather reactionary to the rapid changes in the modern
world and that even an individual can inf‌luence states –
hence ‘the chaotic dynamics’.
While the book is valuable in reviewing the theo-
retical evolution of international relations and of real-
ism(s) in particular, this reviewer believes that the
analysis is rather short on international relations theo-
rists from other schools. Even though Barry Buzan is
cited to strengthen the author’s arguments, Hedley Bull
and his ground-breaking The Anarchical Society is found
nowhere in the bibliography. Hence, the book omits
the entire discourse offered by the English School of
international relations and its ‘international society’
theory. The ‘anarchy’ in this discourse means the
absence of world government and it does not necessarily
mean the absence of order, or ‘chaos’.By admitting the
evolutionary discourse of states, the vacuum of power
welcomes the rise of sub-national or supranational
actors. The neo-realist discourse argues that such phe-
nomena are either ignorable or temporary.Yet in view
of rising non-state actors, states act based on their fear
– the original realist rhetoric. This reviewer does not
claim that realism is right – rather, he expresses the
wish to see the second volume of the book and Kis-
sane’s discussion on the above point.
Tom Hashimoto
(University of Tartu, Estonia)
The Ethics of Capital Punishment: A Philosophi-
cal Investigation of Evil and Its Consequences by
Matthew H. Kramer. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2011.353pp., £50.00, ISBN 978 0 19 864218 2
Hannah Arendt ends Eic hmann in Jerusalem with a state-
ment about the sentencing of Adolf Eichmann:‘we f‌ind
that no one,that is, no member of the human race,can be
expected to want to share the earth with you’. Kramer’s
excellent new book develops an original line of argument
that echoes that Arendtian sentiment into what he calls
the purgative justif‌ication for capital punishment.
© 2013 TheAuthors. Political Studies Review © 2013 Political Studies Association
Political Studies Review: 2013, 11(2)

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