Just war theories reconsidered: Problems with prima facie duties and the need for a political ethic

Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (1):119-137 (2005)
Abstract
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 meta-theory reveals, however, that these purported advantages are illusory, made possible only by ignoring fundamental questions about the nature and function of political authority that are crucial to all moral reflection on the problem of war
Keywords just war  noncombatant immunity  just intention  Paul Ramsey  James Childress  pacifism
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