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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

(p.203) Conclusion In Defence of Just War Theory
Just War Theory

Mark Evans

Edinburgh University Press

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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