3rd Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Pattison

James Pattison

Representativeness, Legitimacy and Those Undertaking Humanitarian Intervention

This paper considers how morally important it is that those undertaking humanitarian intervention (such as the United Nations, states, regional organisations, NGOs, etc.) are representative. I begin by arguing that, in general, representativeness is a crucial part of legitimacy because of the fact of reasonable disagreement and the instrumental value of representative authorities. Having established this theoretical point, the second part of the paper argues that representativeness is also a vital part of the legitimacy of those undertaking humanitarian intervention. Here I distinguish between external and internal representativeness, and argue that both are morally important. The third part of the paper considers how the representativeness of interveners can and should be measured. Given the immense practical difficulties of using the more ideal forms of measurement, I contend that an intervener is internally representative if it is democratic and externally representative if it is respectful of local opinion. The paper concludes by assessing which current agents of humanitarian intervention, if any, meet these morally important standards of representativeness.