Research Programs: Faculty Research Awards

Period of Performance

7/1/2006 - 6/30/2007

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

From Material to Moral Order: Ethical Justifications of Foreign Grants and Loans

FAIN: HR-50214-05

Tomohisa Hattori
CUNY Research Foundation, Lehman College (Bronx, NY 10468-1527)

In what sense can foreign grants and loans be understood as moral practices? This project answers this question in three steps. First, drawing on Aristotelian virtue ethic, it reconceptualizes a type of foreign aid in which this claim is most plausible--multilateral and nongovernmental grants--as an international form of philanthropy. Second, drawing on the ethic of reciprocity, it reconceptualizes two types of official loan relations: between states; and between states and international financial institutions. Third, drawing on the critical realist philosophy of social science, it uncovers a deeper reality in which grants and loans are separate but interdependent phenomena: it is not conincidental that grant recipients are also debtors.

Associated Products

Is It Real? The Question of Juridical, Actual, and Causal Responsibility in Sovereign Debt Settlements (Book Section)
Title: Is It Real? The Question of Juridical, Actual, and Causal Responsibility in Sovereign Debt Settlements
Author: Tomohisa Hattori
Editor: Colin Wight
Editor: Jonathan Joseph
Abstract: This chapter examines the contradiction between the apparent assignment of responsibility and its reality in sovereign loans to states since the 1970s. It argues that the process of this assignment can be best described as the result of the gradual institutionalization of the juridical construction of knowledge. Because juridically constructed causes often preclude real social causes – which include, at a minimum, the agency of creditors and indebted states, institutional settings, and structural conditions – they are an inaccurate and inadequate basis for social scientific inquiry. The paper serves as what critical naturalists call an explanatory critique because it examines how the dominant normative discourse about a social practice (e.g., debt settlement practices) not only justifies the existing order and the power relations that surround a practice but also contradicts a scientific explanation for the practice that clarifies the causal mechanism.
Year: 2010
Publisher: Palgrave
Book Title: Scientific Realism and International Relations
ISBN: 978-0230240063