David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy in the Contemporary World 15 (1):69-81 (2008)
Just war theory has been criticized since it so often is employed by governments and political leadership to justify uses of violent force for nationalistic, political self-serving or otherwise non-moral reasons. This paper acknowledges that reality but argues that just war thinking exemplifies a nonabsolutist mode of moral thinking that actually sets a high bar for morally justifying any use of force. The paper argues that just war thinking must be based on the presumption that force ordinarily ought not be used to settle conflicts. To make the point the author examines Gandhi’s satyagraha, which Gandhi understood as a use of nonviolent force. The paper demonstrates how Gandhi implicitly appealed to the various criteria of just war in thinking about satyagraha. The author concludes that just war theory is not an enemy of peace
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