Suicide as a Belligerent Tactic: Thomistic Reflections

Lawrence Dewan

in Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227969
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237210 | DOI:

Series: Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology

Suicide as a Belligerent               Tactic: Thomistic Reflections

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the use of suicide bombing and its relation to just-war theory. It argues that for St. Thomas, suicide is always wrong, and so is wrong as a tactic in a just war. People, and in particular those involved in war, need protection against the pro-suicide propaganda. The position of the soldier who is a good combatant is that he is ready to risk his life; he is therefore somewhat susceptible to the argument that suicide itself is not so different. The strategic advantage, that is, the technical advantage, to the general in having suicides at his disposal is evident. Thus it is imperative that the absolute ban, witnessed from classical times, be strongly asserted.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; suicide bombings; war; Summa theologiae; just-war theory

Chapter.  4234 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.