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Making Peace with the Devil: The Problem of Ending Just Wars

Making Peace with the Devil: The Problem of Ending Just Wars In this paper, we draw attention to an unintended but severe side effect of just war thinking: the fact that it can impose barriers to making peace. Investigating historical material concerning a series of conflicts in China during the early twentieth century, we suggest that operating in a just war framework might change actors' identities and interests in a way that makes peacemaking an unavailable action. But since just war theory places significant normative constraints on how long wars can be continued, it might thus be self-defeating, in the sense that those who adopt it may undermine the very goals which it is supposed to serve. Whether this finding calls for a revision of existing ethical frameworks governing warfare will depend on whether there are possible alternatives to just war theory that perform better at reining in unjust violence. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Social and Political Philosophy Edinburgh University Press

Making Peace with the Devil: The Problem of Ending Just Wars

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2752-7514
eISSN
2752-7522
DOI
10.3366/jspp.2023.0053
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this paper, we draw attention to an unintended but severe side effect of just war thinking: the fact that it can impose barriers to making peace. Investigating historical material concerning a series of conflicts in China during the early twentieth century, we suggest that operating in a just war framework might change actors' identities and interests in a way that makes peacemaking an unavailable action. But since just war theory places significant normative constraints on how long wars can be continued, it might thus be self-defeating, in the sense that those who adopt it may undermine the very goals which it is supposed to serve. Whether this finding calls for a revision of existing ethical frameworks governing warfare will depend on whether there are possible alternatives to just war theory that perform better at reining in unjust violence.

Journal

Journal of Social and Political PhilosophyEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2023

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