A critique of just war theory
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AbstractJust war theory is a moral tradition that sets out the criteria that must be met for a war to be morally justified. In this dissertation, I undertake a critical analysis of those criteria. That analysis often makes use of an analogy with individual self-defense theory. Therefore, as part of the introductory chapter, I point to the parallels between international military conflict and domestic self-defense, and I also describe the strengths and limitations of the analogy between the two theories. I then turn to the ad helium criteria, arguing that the right intention criterion should not be included in the criteria, and that the reasonable hope of success criterion is redundant. As for the competent authority criterion, I argue that its inclusion is appropriate, but that the criterion cannot be used by an unjust enemy to demonstrate that he is being treated unjustly. With respect to the central criteria of just cause, last resort, and proportionality, I provide my own accounts of them. In considering the in hello criteria, I begin by arguing that there is a closer relationship between in hello and ad helium criteria than is often contended. I then provide my own account of the in hello criteria. In particular, I develop an account of the discrimination criterion that does not rely on considerations of intention. In the final chapter of the dissertation, I discuss some comparative weighing principles that are relevant in applying the ad helium proportionality and last resort criteria and the in hello proportionality and necessity criteria.
Bibliography: p. 229-231
CitationMellow, D. R. (2003). A critique of just war theory (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/23373
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