Philosophy Week 13

This week I would like you to think about your position on war and see if you can share some of your thoughts. Try and answer this question: Is war ever justified? If you don’t think so, justify your answer with reference to one or more of the ethical theories we have covered. If you do think so, justify your answer with reference to one or more of the ethical theories we have covered. In the course of your post, please refer to at least something from this week’s reading; for example, you can refer some or all of the three just war criteria.


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Just War Theory




Just War Theory includes three basic areas. What are they?

What are some reasons why someone might be a just war skeptic, that is, someone who doesn’t think war and morality can go to together at all?

If a war is to be just, the criterion for going to war must be just. This just ad bellum criterion is commonly held to be: having just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used. Be sure to know these.

If a war is to be just, the criterion for how the participants conduct themselves in war must be just. This jus in bellum is commonly held to be proportionality and discrimination. What do these two mean?

Be sure to note how the issue of responsibility is important for both jus ad bellum and jus in bellum.

If a war is to be just, the criterion for how the participants conduct themselves after a war must be just. This jus post bellum is commonly held to be: the principle of discrimination should be employed to avoid imposing punishment on innocents or non-combatants; the rights or traditions of the defeated deserve respect; the claims of victory should be proportional to the war’s character; compensatory claims should be tempered by the principles of discrimination and proportionality; and, controversially, the need to rehabilitate or re-educate an aggressor should also be considered.Know these in some detail.

Lastly, be sure to have a sense of how we can apply our theories to the issue of just war. You will see some helpful examples in the reading.

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