War and Peace in the Natural Law Tradition

John Finnis

in Human Rights and Common Good

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580071
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729393 | DOI:
War and Peace in the Natural Law Tradition

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This chapter surveys the history and merits of just war theory: its account of peace and pacific intention in war; its requirements of motive and intention, and relativising of distinctions between grounds for war and intention in going to war; its account of justifying grounds for going to war, and the emergence of a purely defensive justification; its approach to the side effects of going to war; its differing accounts of the moral limits on the conduct of war; its approach to the prospect of defeat, massacre, and unlimited injustice (extremity); its connections with the problem of forcible resistance to political authority; and its attitude to pacifism and ‘non-violent resistance’. Key figures such as Aquinas, Vitoria, Suarez, and Grotius are compared and critiqued, as well as some more recent authorities.

Keywords: just war; peace; defence; extremity; pacifism; Aquinas; Vitoria; Suarez; Grotius

Chapter.  12125 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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