<i>Conclusion</i> In Defence of Just War Theory

Mark Evans

in Just War Theory

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748620746
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672042 | DOI:
Conclusion In Defence of Just War Theory

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Various well-known criticisms of just war theory are raised and assessed in this chapter. These include the difficulty of defining “war” and hence the circumstances in which the theory might count; the inappropriateness of using moral criteria to justify war – the dangers of “moralism” in justifying such violence; the difficulties of interpreting and/or adhering to its requirements; the problem of its assumed moral equality of combatants; and the difficulties arising from the different weightings that may be given to its various stipulations: the ‘hierarchy problem.’ In indicating how the theory might respond to these problems, it is conceded that some of the objections have a certain force. There may indeed be problems with and limits to the application of just war theory, but the chapter concludes by arguing that, if one wishes to preserve a moral constraint on war, it is difficult to see what could replace some form of just war theory: it is a flawed but inescapable justificatory paradigm.

Keywords: War; Moral justification; Moralism; Moral equality of combatants; Justificatory paradigm

Chapter.  8338 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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