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Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War

Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War: A Moral and Historical Inquiry

Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War
    Book Description:

    In this volume, a sequel to Ideology, Reason, and the Limitation of War, James Turner Johnson continues his reconstruction of the history of just war tradition by analyzing significant individual thinkers, concepts, and events that influenced its development from the mid-eighteenth century to the present.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5556-8
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xx)
    James Turner Johnson
    (pp. xxi-xxxvi)

    In Western civilization the general term for the tradition that has grown up to justify and limit war is “just war theory.” This term, however, is an imprecise one—ambiguous because of the variety of contexts out of which the just war idea has arisen; because of the metamorphosis of the concept of just war over time; because of the existence at any one time ofnumeroustheories; because of the imprecision of language, especially in equivalence of terms between different languages; and, not least, because of the expectations of many persons today regarding war, expectations that are transferred to...

  5. PART ONE. The Problem of Understanding Just War Tradition

    • CHAPTER I Approaches to the Restraint of War
      (pp. 3-18)

      Numerous perspectives have been brought to the study of efforts to impose moral and other restraints on warfare and violence. The effect might be compared to looking into a locked house through its various windows; each vista reveals only some of the contents and internal structure. In this and the three following chapters I will examine just war tradition through some of the “windows” that yield the most significant knowledge of it. All four of these chapters have to do with how to understand the sources and nature of the restraints on war comprised in this tradition. They are all,...

    • CHAPTER II The Significance of History for the Restraint of War: Two Perspectives
      (pp. 19-40)

      If ultimately it is unsatisfactory, as I believe it is, to answer the question of the normative significance of an historical moral tradition by attempting to ground this tradition in absolute first principles, then a more satisfactory alternative must be found. This is one problem posed by the preceding chapter. Such an alternative, I shall argue in the following pages, can be found in a conception of historical reflection as making present to the consciousness such norms as are contained in moral traditions like that of just war.

      To explore the relation between historical reflection and moral valuing I will...

    • CHAPTER III The Cultural Regulation of Violence
      (pp. 41-84)

      The just war tradition represents the coalescence of the major effort Western culture has made to regulate and restrain violence. Such efforts can be found in any culture, though they take different forms and some are less wide-ranging or coherent than others. Quincy Wright has observed that most historic civilizations “have had a body of doctrine reconciling the religious, ethical, and economic values of the civilization and the political and legal values of the particular state with the practices of war. This body of doctrine has consisted of two branches, one of which has been international but not law, the...

    • CHAPTER IV Natural Law as a Language for the Ethics of War
      (pp. 85-118)

      Natural law concepts and terminology weave in and out of just war tradition much as a thread of a particular color might be subtly woven in and out of a length of tweed fabric. The reasons for this are straightforward, though the results are often complex. In the first place, the mixed parentage of just war tradition offers a challenge to systematic thinkers to find some framework of thought or “bridge” language that can unify the diverse elements that historically have contributed to the formulation of just war ideas. In the second place, so far as the claims of these...

  6. PART TWO. Rival Conceptions of War and Its Limits

    • CHAPTER V Perspectives on the Birth of a Tradition: The Middle Ages
      (pp. 121-171)

      For a variety of reasons, the best place to begin the study of moral and legal doctrines on limiting war in the West during the Middle Ages is with the publication of Gratian’sDecretumin the middle of the twelfth century. Highly significant in itself as an attempt to bring understanding and order to Christian traditional teachings whose interrelationship was often poorly comprehended and often one of outright contradiction, Gratian’sDecretumstands as an even more significant benchmark because of the explorations, analyses, and creative legal and theological enterprises it engendered and for which it provided an authoritative basis. This...

    • CHAPTER VI The Transition to the Modern Era
      (pp. 172-189)

      Before 1492, the year of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, European culture still clearly exhibited the patterns of thought, belief, and social organizations characteristic of the Middle Ages; after 1648, the year of the end of the Thirty Years War, Europe was clearly in a new age, the modern era. Between these dates lay a century and a half of sweeping change, change that affected European civilization generally and the theory and practice of war and its restraint in particular. The moral and legal limits to war that had been defined in the Middle Ages metamorphosed into new forms...

    • CHAPTER VII The Limited War Idea and Just War Tradition
      (pp. 190-228)

      The term “limited war” is imprecise as it is found in ordinary usage among writers on war. The term “just war” is also, of course, imprecisely used; yet it is possible to define just war tradition in a meaningful way through the various concepts of thejus ad bellumandjus in bellothat center discussion on restraining war in Western culture from the Middle Ages on. Such terms as just cause, right authority, right intention, last resort, an end of peace, proportionality of good to evil, and noncombatant immunity thus operate, in the just war tradition, as focal points...

    • CHAPTER VIII Historical Concepts of Total War and Just War Tradition
      (pp. 229-278)

      The term “total war” denotes a form of conflict to which a variety of other names have been assigned at different points in history. Of these the most important are three: holy war, national war, and ideological war. This chapter will treat these ideas in their historical contexts as they bear on the concept of total war.

      To anticipate the discussion of this chapter, I will be using the “total war” as implying the presence of certain particular characteristics. Of these, the most basic is the requirement that the cause of war be perceived as ultimate in nature; that is,...

  7. PART THREE. Modern War and Attempts at Restraint

    • CHAPTER IX The Onset of Modern War and the Development of Restraints
      (pp. 281-326)

      Depending on perspective, one can chart the beginning of the era of modern warfare from the wars of the French Revolution and of Napoleon, from the U.S. Civil War, from the rise of mass standing armies in Europe, from the slaughter of the First World War, or from the invention and use of the atomic bomb. For our purposes, to investigate the interaction between modern warfare and developments in efforts to restrain war, it makes the most sense to locate our benchmark in the decade between 1860 and 1870, the decade of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The...

    • CHAPTER X The Just War Tradition and Contemporary War
      (pp. 327-366)

      What is most significant about just war tradition in the twentieth century is that it has been recaptured as a moral, and more specifically as a theological, tradition. That is, those persons whose business is systematic moral philosophy and theology have once more focused their attention on understanding and drawing out the implications of the restraints developed in the historical tradition of just war. Such had not been the case since the time of Grotius, himself as much a moral philosopher as a theorist of international law, and his older contemporary, the Spanish neoscholastic theologian Suarez. Before these figures the...

    (pp. 367-376)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 377-380)