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Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 23:52 | SYDNEY
Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 23:52 | SYDNEY

Remembering Hedley Bull

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26 August 2008 17:03

Yesterday saw the launch of a new book of essays paying tribute to Australia's finest international relations theorist, Hedley Bull. Here's my favourite quote from Bull's 'The Anarchical Society', which remains a standard text for any student of international politics:

The search for conclusions that can be presented as 'solutions' or 'practical advice' is a corrupting element in the contemporary study of world politics, which properly understood is an intellectual activity and not a practical one. Such conclusions are advanced less because there is any solid basis for them than because there is a demand for them which it is profitable to satisfy. The fact is that while there is a great desire to know what the future of world politics will bring, and also to know how we should behave in it, we have to grope about in the dark with respect to the one as much as with respect to the other. It is better to recognise that we are in darkness than to pretend that we can see light.

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