Natural Law as a Language for the Ethics of War

Journal of Religious Ethics 3 (2):217 - 242 (1975)
To assess the utility of appeals to natural law as a way of projecting ethical claims across ideological and cultural boundaries, three examples of such appeals in just war theory are critically analyzed and evaluated: those of contemporary international lawyers Myres McDougal and Florentino Feliciano, theological ethicist Paul Ramsey, and Franciscus de Victoria, a sixteenth-century Spanish theorist whose recasting of Christian just war thought gave rise to secular international law. The conclusion is that natural-law appeals today can no longer depend on their own self-evidence, but must be attempts to uncover commonality as to what is natural.
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Jeff McMahan (2010). The Laws of War. In Samantha Besson & John Tasioulas (eds.), The Philosophy of International Law. Oup Oxford.

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