About this topic
Summary

The term ‘pacifism’ is used to describe a range of positions and historical movements, broadly characterised by a general rejection of violence. Positions range from an absolute and principled rejection of violence (such that violence can never be justified), to contingent pacifisms that accept that violence may in principle be justified, but the necessary conditions for its justification cannot be met given existing practices. Furthermore, pacifism can be understood as a personal ethic (including conscientious objection), a critique of predominant political institutions (anti-warism), or as an alternative political theory (with connections to anarchism and feminism). While there is some recent work that attempts to characterise pacifism in terms of the Just War tradition (JWT), pacifism is generally considered an alternative tradition, broadly critical of JWT’s central premises.

Introductions

The Stanford Encyclopedia entry Fiala 2008 is a good introduction to the topic, as is Peter Brock’s historical survey [Brock 1998 Varieties of Pacifism].

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  1. Richard Adams (2013). Moral Autonomy in Australian Legislation and Military Doctrine. Ethics and Global Politics 6 (3):135-154.
    "Australian legislation and military doctrine stipulate that soldiers ‘subjugate their will’ to" "government, and fight in any war the government declares. Neither legislation nor doctrine enables the conscience of soldiers. Together, provisions of legislation and doctrine seem to take soldiers for granted. And, rather than strengthening the military instrument, the convention of legislation and doctrine seems to weaken the democratic foundations upon which the military may be shaped as a force for justice. Denied liberty of their conscience, soldiers are denied (...)
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  2. Robert Pardee Adams (1937). Pacifism in the English Renaissance, 1497-1530. Chicago.
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  3. Andrew Alexandra (2015). Liability, War, and Peace. Philosophical Forum 46 (1):41-53.
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  4. Andrew Alexandra (2003). Political Pacifism. Social Theory and Practice 29 (4):589-606.
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  5. Anon (1946). Pacifism and Conscientious Objection. By G. C. Field. (Cambridge University Press. 1945. Pp. Viii + 123. Price 3s. 6d. Net.). [REVIEW] Philosophy 21 (79):172-.
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  6. Jovan Babić (2013). Pacifism and Moral Integrity. Philosophia 41 (4):1007-1016.
    The paper has three parts. The first is a discussion of the values as goals and means. This is a known Moorean distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values, with one other Moorean item - the doctrine of value wholes. According to this doctrine the value wholes are not simply a summation of their parts, which implies a possibility that two evils might be better than one (e. g. crime + punishment, two evils, are better than either one of them taken (...)
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  7. Allan Bäck & Daeshik Kim (1982). Pacifism and the Eastern Martial Arts. Philosophy East and West 32 (2):177-186.
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  8. Helmut David Baer & Joseph E. Capizzi (2005). Just War Theories Reconsidered: Problems with Prima Facie Duties and the Need for a Political Ethic. Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (1):119-137.
    This essay challenges a "meta-theory" in just war analysis that purports to bridge the divide between just war and pacifism. According to the meta-theory, just war and pacifism share a common presumption against killing that can be overridden only under conditions stipulated by the just war criteria. Proponents of this meta-theory purport that their interpretation leads to ecumenical consensus between "just warriors" and pacifists, and makes the just war theory more effective in reducing recourse to war. Engagement with the new (...)
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  9. Jacob N. Bauer (2014). Gandhian Nonviolence and the Problem of Preferable Violence. Acorn 15 (1):26-32.
    In this article, I argue that Gandhi can prefer violence in cases, but still morally object to all forms of violence. Even though this can seem to be a contradiction, nonetheless, one can prefer an action without thinking that action is morally justified. Next, I explore the objection that preferring a violent act, such as violent self-defense, over a act that is not violent, such as running away, seems to prefer an action that is more violent to one that is (...)
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  10. Rodger Beehler (1972). Pacifism: A Note. Dialogue 11 (04):584-587.
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  11. Raymond A. Belliotti (1995). Are All Modern Wars Morally Wrong? Journal of Social Philosophy 26 (2):17-31.
  12. Martin Benjamin (1973). Pacifism for Pragmatists. Ethics 83 (3):196-213.
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  13. Selmer Bringsjord (1989). Christianity and Pacifism. Faith and Philosophy 6 (1):88-94.
    In a recent issue of Faith and Philosophy, James Kellenberger argues that the “ethics of love” aspect of Christianity entails pacifism, In response, I present an argument designed to show that Christian doctrine entails the falsity of pacifism, I go on to show, however, that the spirit of Kellenberger’s point may survive, for perhaps Christ’s teaching regarding “mental sin” prohibits the war-related activity known as nuclear deterrence.
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  14. Peter Brock (2000). Personal Pacifism in Historical Perspective. The Acorn 11 (1):53-61.
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  15. D. L. Cady (1984). Duane L. Cady -- Backing Into Pacifism. Philosophy and Social Criticism 10 (3-4):173-180.
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  16. Duane L. Cady (1994). In Defense of Active Pacifists. Journal of Social Philosophy 25 (2):89-91.
  17. Mary Whiton Calkins (1917). Militant Pacifism. International Journal of Ethics 28 (1):70-79.
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  18. J. E. Capizzi (2001). On Behalf of the Neighbor: A Rejection of the Complementarity of Just-War Theory and Pacifism. Studies in Christian Ethics 14 (2):87-108.
  19. Kevin Carnahan (2007). Prophetic Realism: Beyond Militarism and Pacifism in an Age of Terror. By Ronald H. Stone. Heythrop Journal 48 (4):655–657.
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  20. Michael G. Cartwright (2007). Conflicting Interpretations of Christian Pacifism. In John Aloysius Coleman (ed.), Christian Political Ethics. Princeton University Press.
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  21. David K. Chan (2012). Beyond Just War: A Virtue Ethics Approach. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Unlike most books on the ethics of war, this book rejects the 'just war' tradition, proposing a virtue ethics of war to take its place.
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  22. J. Daryl Charles (2005). 6. Between Pacifism and Crusade: Justice and Neighbor Love in the Just-War Tradition. Logos 8 (4).
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  23. Christine Chwaszcza (2008). Review of C. A. J. Coady, Morality and Political Violence. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
  24. Bruno Coppieters (2002). The Right to Military Disobedience in Militarism, Pacifism, Realism and Just War Theory. Professional Ethics 10 (2/3/4):181-196.
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  25. Mervyn D'Souza (1978). A Second Look at Aspects of Gandhi's Theory of Non-Violence. Journal of Social Philosophy 9 (2):11-14.
  26. Mark Y. Davies (1998). The Pacifism Debate in the Hartshorne-Brightman Correspondence. Process Studies 27 (3/4):200-214.
  27. Victoria Davion (1990). Pacifism and Care. Hypatia 5 (1):90 - 100.
    I argue there is no pacifist commitment implied by the practice of mothering, contrary to what Ruddick suggests. Using violence in certain situations is consistent with the goals of this practice. Furthermore, I use Ruddick's valuable analysis of the care for particular individuals involved in this practice to show why pacifism may be incompatible with caring passionately for individuals. If giving up passionate attachments to individuals is necessary for pacifist commitment as Ghandi claims, then the price is too high.
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  28. ĖV Demenchonok (ed.) (2009). Between Global Violence and the Ethics of Peace: Philosophical Perspectives. John Wiley & Sons.
  29. Christopher J. Eberle (2006). Religion, Pacifism, and the Doctrine of Restraint. Journal of Religious Ethics 34 (2):203 - 224.
    The doctrine of restraint is the claim that citizens and legislators ought to restrain themselves from making political decisions solely on religious grounds. That doctrine is normally construed as a general constraint on religious arguments: an exclusively religious rationale "as such" is an inappropriate basis for a political decision, particularly a coercive political decision. However, the most common arguments for the doctrine of restraint fail to show that citizens and legislators ought to obey the doctrine of restraint, as we can (...)
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  30. Vergilius Ferm (1931). Book Review:Pacifism in the Modern World. Devere Allen. [REVIEW] Ethics 41 (4):526-.
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  31. Andrew Fiala (2009). Pacifism and Just War Theory After 9/11. In Matthew J. Morgan (ed.), The Impact of 9/11 on Religion and Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  32. Andrew Fiala, Pacifism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  33. Andrew Fiala (2006). Practical Pacifism,Jus in Bello, and Citizen Responsibility. Ethical Perspectives 13 (4):673-697.
    This article discusses how ordinary citizens might apply principles of jus in bello. It reaches a sceptical conclusion about citizens’ capacity to apply these principles and connects this with a practical approach to pacifism or, what might also be called, just-war pacifism.This discussion is oriented around events in the war in Iraq including the use of cluster bombs and the commission of war crimes. It uses these events to discuss the question of jus in bello and to also address the (...)
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  34. Aaron Fortune (2004). Violence as Self-Sacrifice: Creative Pacifism in a Violent World. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 18 (3):184-192.
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  35. Mathew A. Foust (2014). The Feminist Pacifism of William James and Mary Whiton Calkins. Hypatia 29 (4):889-905.
    In this paper, I accompany William James and Mary Whiton Calkins in the steps each takes toward his or her respective proposal of a moral equivalent of war. I demonstrate the influence of James upon Calkins, suggesting that the two share overlapping formulations of the problem and offer closely related—but significantly different—solutions. I suggest that Calkins's pacifistic proposal is an extension of that of her teacher—a feminist interpretation of his psychological and moral thought as brought to bear on the problem (...)
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  36. Norman Freund (1982). Nonviolent National Defense. Journal of Social Philosophy 13 (2):12-17.
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  37. Helen Frowe & Gerald Lang (eds.) (2014). How We Fight: Ethics in War. OUP.
    How We Fight: Ethics in War contains ten groundbreaking essays by some of the leading philosophers of war. The essays offer new perspectives on key debates including pacifism, punitive justifications for war, the distribution of risk between combatants and non-combatants, the structure of 'just war theory', and bases of individual liability in war.
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  38. Konrad Fuchs (1982). Pacifism in the Weimar Republic. Studies in Historical Peace Research. Philosophy and History 15 (2):166-167.
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  39. William M. Fuson (1943). The Ethics of Pacifism: A Critique and a Reappraisal. Philosophical Review 52 (5):494-499.
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  40. William Gay, The Language of War and Peace.
    linguistic alienation: the situation in which individuals cannot understand a discourse in their own language because of the use of highly technical vocabularies. linguistic violence: the situation in which individuals are hurt or harmed by words. negative peace: the temporary absence of active war or the lull between wars. positive peace: the negation of war and the presence of justice. warist discourse: language which takes for granted that wars are inevitable, justifiable, and winnable.
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  41. C. J. Green (2005). Pacifism and Tyrannicide: Bonhoeffer's Christian Peace Ethic. Studies in Christian Ethics 18 (3):31-47.
    This article offers a new interpretation of Bonhoeffer's Christian peace ethic, a more penetrating description of what is usually called his `pacifism'. This peace ethic does not rest on a principle of non-violence — Bonhoeffer rejects an ethic of principles — but is rooted in his distinctive reading of Scripture, especially the Sermon on the Mount, and his understanding of Christ, discipleship, the gospel and the church. Consequently he does not abandon his peace ethic to participate in the anti-Hitler conspiracy (...)
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  42. Vinit Haksar (2012). Violence in a Spirit of Love: Gandhi and the Limits of Non-Violence. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (3):303-324.
    The paper considers how Mahatma Gandhi?s Law of Ahimsa (or non-violence) can be reconciled with the necessity of violence; some of the strategies that Gandhi adopts in response to this problem are critically examined. Gandhi was willing to use (outward) violence as an expedience (in the sense of necessity), but he was opposed to using non-violence as an expedience. There are two versions of Gandhi?s doctrine. He makes a distinction between outward violence and inner violence. Both versions grant that outward (...)
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  43. Russell Hardin (1985). Book Review:Nuclear Pacifism: "Just War" Thinking Today. Edward J. Laarman; The Ethics of War and Nuclear Deterrence. James P. Sterba; When War Is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking. John Howard Yoder. [REVIEW] Ethics 95 (3):763-.
  44. Stanley Hauerwas (1985). Pacifism. Faith and Philosophy 2 (2):99-104.
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  45. Robert L. Holmes (2015). The Metaethics of Pacifism and Just War Theory. Philosophical Forum 46 (1):3-15.
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  46. Robert L. Holmes (1999). Pacifism for Nonpacifists. Journal of Social Philosophy 30 (3):387–400.
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  47. Robert L. Holmes (1994). Pacifism and Wartime Innocence. Social Theory and Practice 20 (2):193-202.
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  48. Robert L. Holmes (1973). On Pacifism. The Monist 57 (4):489-506.
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  49. C. Anthony Hunt (2004). Martin Luther King: Resistance, Nonviolence and Community. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (4):227-251.
    Martin Luther King, Jr drew upon his early grounding in family and church to forge a praxis of egalitarian justice in the rigidly segregated American South of his youth. King?s ethical outlook was eclectic, reflecting the influence of such figures as Mays, Davis, Rauschenbusch, Niebuhr, Thurman and Gandhi, alongside such doctrines as personalism and liberalism, nationalism and realism. Yet King?s subsequent academic study more nearly enhanced than restructured his early, formative exposure to black church and community. King became committed to (...)
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  50. Craig K. Ihara (1988). Pacifism as a Moral Ideal. Journal of Value Inquiry 22 (4):267-277.
    In conclusion I would like to forestall one potential misunderstanding. As I have described it the pacifist ideal may seem so difficult to attain that it may seem closed off from the aspirations of ordinary human beings; and there is no doubt that few people are likely to attain this ideal to any great degree. This accords with our intuition that “true,” by which I think we mean “paradigm” pacifists, are rare indeed. But ideals can be sought, as well as (...)
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