Over ‘caritas’ en de belofte van de ‘juiste intentie’


On ‘caritas’ and the promise of ‘right intent’Back to the roots of justice in warIn classical Just War texts, the criterion of ‘right intent’ is considered a key concept with regard to the justice of a war as such, since it refers to the basic iustus disposition from which the other criteria should be applied. However, in current JW debates, determined to a large extent by Traditionalists and Revisionists, the importance of this key concept threatens to disappear from view. This article aims to show the relevance of further reflection on the role and meaning of the criterion of ‘right intent’ using classical JW insights and in particular Hannah Arendt’s analysis of Augustine’s concept of ‘caritas’, given the political relevance of this concept as pointed out by Arendt. The criterion of ‘right intent’ is closely connected to Arendt’s distinction between power and violence and her principle of the right to have rights. Right intent, as a virtue, based on and inspired by caritas, in more contemporary discourse, a humanitarian ethos, implies the promise of the iustus application of the JW criteria that were originally formulated precisely for that reason.

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