Defence Studies 19 (2):189-204 (2019)

Jan Almäng
University of Karlstad
It has frequently been observed in the literature on hybrid wars that there is a grey zone between peace and war, and that hybrid wars are conflicts which are not clear cases of war. In this paper, I attempt to illuminate this grey zone and the concept and nature of war from the philosophical discussions of vagueness and institutional facts. Vague terms are characterized by the fact that there is no non-arbitrary boundary between entities which lie in their extension, and entities which do not lie in their extension. I apply a theory of vagueness to notions such as “war” and “peace” and go on to suggest that the exact boundary for what counts as a war or not is arbitrary. However, the context in which the conflict occurs determines a range of possible locations for this boundary. The most important contextual parameter is in this respect how the parties to the conflict themselves conceptualize the conflict. I suggest that this can in various ways help us understand grey-zone conflicts.
Keywords War  Social Ontology  Vagueness  Hybrid War  Philosophy of law
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