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Just and Unjust War

Just and Unjust War

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Just and Unjust War

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  1. Just and Unjust War Michael Walzer

  2. Just War Theory The theory asks two types of questions: Just cause: was the war undertaken for the right reasons Just Means: is it fought in an honorable way? To a great extent these questions are independent. An unjust war might be fought with a sense of restraint and a just war might be pursued without any sense of limits.

  3. Against “Realism” The Realist Argument Can war lies beyond moral judgment? Is the language we use to talk about war rich in moral meaning? Why? What is the so-called “realistic” view of war? Why does Walzer thinks that the judgment of war and war time conduct is a serious enterprise? What lesson can be drawn from a comparison of the Melian and the Mytilena episodes? What evidences supports Walser’s belief in the moral reality of war? Do the three accounts of Aginourt support that claim that “all morality is relative?

  4. Some Positions on War and Justice: a) So-called realism- a realm of force excludes limits b) The cause must be just but take any means to victory c) Both the cause and means should be just except in a state of emergency when unjust means must be adopted for a while d) Justice in terms of the cause and the means is vital e) Nuclear pacifist: traditional wars might be justified but all nuclear conflicts exceed acceptable limits f) Even the nuclear policy of deterrence as a strategy for avoiding war is unacceptable since it threatens human life indiscriminately g) Pacifist opposition to violence as a means of defense

  5. Example of An Ancient War

  6. Thucydides, the Ancient Greek historian of the fifth century B.C., is not only the father of scientific history, but also of political "realism," the school of thought which posits that interstate relations are based on might rather than right. Thucydides: “Justice will not come to Athens until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are injured.” “The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage. -Thucydides Read more at

  7. Peloponnrsion War

  8. The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Two Parts of the War: The First period: The "Archidamian War” it was concluded in 421 BC, ends at Peace of Nicias The second period: In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse in Sicily 3) in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. The destruction of Athens' fleet at Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. Consequences: complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, and destroying whole cities, the Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth century BC and the golden age of Greece.

  9. The Melian Dialogue The "Melian dialogue" best exemplifies Thucydides' view that interstate politics lack regulation and justice. In the "Melian dialogue," he wrote that, in interstate relations: “The strong do what they have to do and the weak accept what they have to accept. ” The dialogue between the Athenian generals Cleomedes and Tisias and the magistrates of the island state of Melos

  10. Navigation • Navigation • The AthenianGenerals believe: • “Let us have no fine words about justice.” • “We will talk instead of what is feasible and what is necessary. for this is what war is really like: ’they that have odds of power exact as much as they can, and the weak yield to such conditions as they can get.’” • “They must expand their empire” or “lose what they already have.” • “If they do not conquer when they can, they only reveal weakness and invite attack.”

  11. The Magistrates: Melians: yield or be destroy? Rulers: freedom above safety Melos was betrayed by several of its citizens. When further resistance seemed impossible, the Melians “yielded themselves to the discretion of Athenians: who slew all the men of military age, made slaves of the women and children; and inhabited the place with a colony sent thither afterwards of 500 men of their own.”

  12. Consequences of War (Peter Paul Rubens)

  13. “The Athenians shared a moral vocabulary, shared it with the people of Mytilene and Melos; and allowing for cultural differences, they share it with us too. They had no difficulty, and we have none, in understanding the claim of the Melian magistrates that the invasion of their island was unjust.” (Walzer, p. 11) “There are, first of all, serious difficulties of perception and information (in war and politics generally), and so controversies arise over ‘the facts of the case.’” (p. 12) ” Example:

  14. “Whether or not people speak in good faith, they cannot say just anything they please. Moral talk is coercive; one thing leads to another.”(p.12) “If I claim that I am fighting justly, I must also claim that I was attacked (‘put to it,’ as the Melians were), or threatened with attack, or that I am coming to the aid of a victim of someone else’s attack. And each of these claims has its own entailments, leading me deeper and deeper into a world of discourse where, thought I can go on talking indefinitely, I am severely constrained in what I can say. I must say this or that, and at many points in a long argument this or that will be true or false.” (p. 12)

  15. Strategy and Morality: Strategy, like morality, is a language of justification Moral judgments: moral concepts and strategic concepts reflect the real world in the same way. Unfixed Moral Rules: The moral reality of war is not fixed by the actual activities of soldiers but by the opinions of mankind

  16. Historical Relativism: No doubt the moral reality of war is not the same for us as it was for Genghis Khan, nor is the strategic reality Three Accounts of Agincourt Unfixed Moral Rules: The moral reality of war is not fixed by the actual activities of soldiers but by the opinions of mankind. Example of unfixed moral rules: Example (How are Americans viewed by a unfriendly country):

  17. The End Roy Lichtenstein, Whaam!, 1963