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Just War TheoryA Reappraisal$
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Mark Evans

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748620746

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620746.001.0001

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Conclusion In Defence of Just War Theory

Conclusion In Defence of Just War Theory

Chapter:
(p.203) Conclusion In Defence of Just War Theory
Source:
Just War Theory
Author(s):

Mark Evans

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620746.003.0010

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

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