We wish to express our indebtedness to our former teacher Theodore Weber, who has exerted a fundamental influence on our understanding of just war theory as a political ethic.
JUST WAR THEORIES RECONSIDERED: Problems with Prima Facie Duties and the Need for a Political Ethic
Article first published online: 4 FEB 2005
Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 33, Issue 1, pages 119–137, March 2005
How to Cite
Baer, H. D. and Capizzi, J. E. (2005), JUST WAR THEORIES RECONSIDERED: Problems with Prima Facie Duties and the Need for a Political Ethic. Journal of Religious Ethics, 33: 119–137. doi: 10.1111/j.0384-9694.2005.00185.x
- Issue published online: 4 FEB 2005
- Article first published online: 4 FEB 2005
- just war;
- Paul Ramsey;
- James Childress;
- just intention;
- noncombatant immunity
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.