Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Professor Andrew Schroeder

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2020 Andrew R Ciacci


This thesis examines the difficulties philosophical theories have in adapting to international issues. This work primarily focuses on the philosophical theory of government known as “Republicanism”. According to republicanism, the government’s overarching goal is to promote freedom, which republicans understand as the ability to pursue choices without being under the arbitrary power of others. After establishing its merits, I lay out the core principles of republicanism as are most clearly articulated in Phillip Pettit’s work, Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government. The second chapter then examines how Pettit applies his own view to analyze the state of Republican freedom in Prime Minister Luis Zapatero’s Spain. Drawing from his treatment of the Catalonian secession movement, I argue that Pettit seems to overlook certain crucial international dynamics at play in his analysis. From here, the third chapter applies Pettit’s framework to analyze the status of the rule of law in Northern Kosovo, where high levels of distrust and the entrenchment of international actors pose unique problems for Pettit’s framework. Crucially, the case of Kosovo reveals that the establishment of freedom, in republican terms, sometimes requires the paternalistic involvement of an international, impartial actor. Despite its necessity, the sort of interference appears arbitrary and in tension with republicanism’s core principles. In my view, this tension leaves Republicanism ill-equipped to adapt to the novel types of dominating relationships that exist in international cases.