Perturbations of the soul and pains of the body: Augustine on evil suffered and done in war

Journal of Religious Ethics 36 (2):269-294 (2008)
Many contemporary scholars debate whether war should be conceived as a relative evil or a morally neutral act. The works of Augustine may offer new ways of thinking through the categories of this debate. In an early period, Augustine develops the distinction between evil done and evil suffered. Augustine's early treatments of war locate the saint as detached sage doing only good, and immune from evil suffered. In a middle period, he develops a richer picture of the evil suffered on the occasion of the loss of historical goods but fails to develop the implications of this picture as concerns war. Finally, without abandoning emphasis on the avoidance of doing evil, Augustine comes to highlight how evil suffered in war prevents us from speaking simply of good wars. Augustine's ability to hold together senses of evil and their moral significance provides a useful avenue for new thought on this issue
Keywords presumption  evil  Augustine  suffering  just war
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2008.00346.x
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Martha Nussbaum (1988). The Fragility of Goodness. Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.

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