Western Moral Tradition and World Politics

IWP 615
Four credits

The course will stress the role of ethics and natural law within the context of statecraft.  It will examine the use of moral reasoning and prudence in helping to achieve the twin goals of an ethical foreign policy and the protection of the national interest.  Both of these goals will be reviewed in the light of Western moral tradition; a tradition that, through the years, has historically guided the various aspects of statecraft.  What is unique about this course is that it will conduct this examination placing special emphasis on the concept of natural law.  The course will contrast this tradition with the new moral interpretations of the moral law and explore the real and potential consequences of these changes, in particular with respect to the use of force. Practical examples will be given.  It will also contrast the Western tradition with other moral frameworks that have informed different cultures and their respective methods of statecraft.

This course is offered in two separate sections.

Semester Available


Fall Semester
Spring Semester

Principal Professor


   Alberto M. Piedra
Donald E. Bently Professor of Political Economy, Former U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala {read more}
   Joseph R. Wood
Professor and Chairman, Admissions Committee {read more}