We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Ethics, Nationalism, and Just War

Medieval and Contemporary Perspectives

Henrik Syse

Publication Year: 2012

The book covers a wide range of topics and raises issues rarely touched on in the ethics-of-war literature, such as environmental concerns and the responsibility of bystanders.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.4 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (23.4 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.8 KB)
pp. vii-viii

The essays in part one, with the exception of those by Johnson and Gray, were first presented at a panel organized by the “Politica” section of the American Political Science Association in September 2000. Our thanks to Professor Cary Nederman for organizing that panel and encouraging the subsequent publication of its papers. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (28.6 KB)
pp. ix-x

The face of armed conflict changes every week and every day, but the underlying moral questions remain, remarkably, much the same. Taking this continuity as our point of departure, we focus in the present volume on some basic issues in ethics and philosophy that are related to the use of armed force ...

read more

Part One. The Medieval Roots of Just War

While the essays in this book span a number of theoretical perspectives, many of them are inspired by the just war tradition. The essential idea behind just war thinking can be summed up in two points: (1) While many wars can and should be stopped, preferably before their inception, war is and remains an inescapable fact in the world. ...

read more

1. Thinking Morally about War in the Middle Ages and Today

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.1 KB)
pp. 3-10

Do medieval views of war have any relevance today? There are clearly enormous differences between life in the Middle Ages and life today, differences in social relationships, forms of political order, assumptions about the natural and supernatural world, available technology, and so on, ...

read more

2. Taming Warriors in Classical and Early Medieval Political Theory

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.2 KB)
pp. 11-35

Medieval political theory is often accused of being arcane and incapable of speaking to contemporary political problems. This appearance seems especially true when it comes to contemporary thinking on war: what do the likes of Tertullian, Origen, Ambrose, and others have to say about nuclear weapons, apocalyptic terrorists, ...

read more

3. Augustine and Just War: Between Virtue and Duties

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.8 KB)
pp. 36-50

Augustine is often referred to as the founder of just war doctrine. While that is not quite accurate, since Cicero and several of the earlier Church Fathers had already formulated the basic elements of the just war idea,1 it is certainly true that Augustine would become the most influential of the early Christian teachers writing on the morality of war. ...

read more

4. Just War, Schism, and Peace in St. Augustine

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.2 KB)
pp. 51-71

In the scholarly literature on Augustine’s writings, few topics have instigated more discussion or debate than his belief about the use of coercion against schismatics and heretics. Many scholars see his choice to use coercion against the Donatists as a deviation from his usual way of thinking. ...

read more

5. Is There a “Presumption against War” in Aquinas’s Ethics?

pdf iconDownload PDF (128.8 KB)
pp. 72-98

Over the past few years a debate has arisen among proponents of just war thinking about the correct starting point for moral reflection on war. The debate concerns how moral reasoning should proceed when the just war criteria of legitimate authority, just cause, and right intention are made to inform decision making ...

read more

6. Poets and Politics: Just War in Geoffrey Chaucer and Christine de Pizan

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.4 KB)
pp. 99-116

During the Middle Ages, traditions of blood feud, desires for conquest and power, and even the chivalric code of honor intensified the frequency and legitimacy of war. Yet war as an inescapable fact of life does not diminish the desire for peace; in fact it may intensify our human sense of its value. ...

read more

7. Reflections on Medieval Just War Theories: A Commentary on Part One

pdf iconDownload PDF (125.0 KB)
pp. 117-146

A useful place to begin a discussion on the complexities of medieval just war theories is by briefly discussing two other basic ethical positions regarding the morality of armed conflict. It may be the case that medieval just war theories—both ius ad bellum and ius in bello, as well as other variants1 ...

read more

Part Two. Contemporary Problems of War, Nationalism, and Ethics

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.2 KB)
pp. 147-150

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have given rise to much speculation about their implications for the ethics of war. Surely, the political map as well as the rhetoric about armed force seem to have undergone a radical transformation since the day when the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was attacked. ...

read more

8. Maintaining the Protection of Noncombatants

pdf iconDownload PDF (142.0 KB)
pp. 151-189

All warfare imposes a burden of harm on noncombatants. This burden may be relatively light, as when the citizens of a nation engaged in a faraway war fought by mercenaries are taxed to support that war. The weight is heavier when the soldiers are drawn from the same population that is at war, whether by volunteering or by a draft. ...

read more

9. Protecting the Natural Environment in Wartime: Ethical Considerations from the Just War Tradition

pdf iconDownload PDF (119.4 KB)
pp. 190-217

What protection does the natural environment merit in wartime? It was in the aftermath of the Vietnam War of 1961–75 that this question came into focus. Wars have always brought destruction in their wake; and the twentieth century was by no means the first to show concern for the effects of armed conflict on our natural surroundings. ...

read more

10. U.N.-Authorized Interventions: A Slippery Slope of Forcible Interference?

pdf iconDownload PDF (110.0 KB)
pp. 218-245

The philosophical tradition of just war has concentrated on two questions. First, what, if any, are the legitimate reasons for engaging in war (ius ad bellum)? Second, what is it justifiable to do, against whom, when fighting a war (ius in bello)? The topic of this chapter, which is the changed scope of the principle of nonintervention, ...

read more

11. Ethical Uncertainties of Nationalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.0 KB)
pp. 246-266

The nature of nationalist movements and how to address them became key issues of world politics with the end of the cold war in the three-year period 1989 to 1991, and have remained so through the 1990s and into the new century. They are important issues both for social science theory and for practical politics. ...

read more

12. The Sort of Nationalism and Patriotism That Europe Needs

pdf iconDownload PDF (98.4 KB)
pp. 267-289

What should be the common basis of a European identity? Should all citizens of the European Union share, and be made to share, certain values, memories, or beliefs—and if so, which and why? ...

read more

13. Defining and Delivering Justice: The Work of the Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.3 KB)
pp. 290-322

Paradoxically, the twentieth century witnessed both the bloodiest and most horrific carnage in the history of humankind and the first global attempts to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. From these unjust wars came a dawning sense that a just peace was necessary to prevent their recurrence and right the scales of injustice. ...

read more

14. The Legitimacy of Anticipatory Defense and Forcible Regime Change

pdf iconDownload PDF (120.9 KB)
pp. 323-351

In the months preceding the recent war against Iraq, the U.S. administration made clear that it sought not only to disarm Saddam Hussein and coerce him to comply with international law but also to force a change of regime.1 Alongside the legitimacy of preemptive/preventive strikes and the justification of militarily enforcing nonproliferation ...

read more

15. Genocide: A Case for the Responsibility of the Bystander

pdf iconDownload PDF (88.2 KB)
pp. 352-371

After affirming that genocide is a crime under international law whether committed in time of peace or war, the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, ...

read more

16. The Ethical Core of the Nation-State: A Postscript to Part Two

pdf iconDownload PDF (71.1 KB)
pp. 372-384

The title of the present volume, Ethics, Nationalism, and Just War, announces a daunting project. The countless constellations of war, nation, justice, and peace, past and present, and the wide variety of conceivable ethical approaches to them, resist discrete summary. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (36.1 KB)
pp. 385-388

J. Peter Burgess is research professor at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), leader of PRIO’s Security Programme, and editor of Security Dialogue. Burgess has published eleven books and over forty articles in the fields of political science, security studies, philosophy, history, and cultural studies. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (98.5 KB)
pp. 389-406

Production Notes, Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (196.8 KB)

E-ISBN-13: 9780813220963
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215020

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Just war doctrine -- History.
  • War -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Military ethics.
  • Nationalism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access