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Contingent Pacifism
Revisiting Just War Theory


  • Author: Larry May, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107547667

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About the Authors
  • In this, the first major philosophical study of contingent pacifism, Larry May offers a new account of pacifism from within the Just War tradition. Written in a non-technical style, the book features real-life examples from contemporary wars and applies a variety of approaches ranging from traditional pacifism and human rights to international law and conscientious objection. May considers a variety of thinkers and theories, including Hugo Grotius, Kant, Socrates, Seneca on restraint, Tertullian on moral purity, Erasmus's arguments against just war, and Hobbes's conception of public conscience. The guiding idea is that the possibility of a just war is conceded, but not at the current time or in the foreseeable future due to the nature of contemporary armed conflict and geopolitics - wars in the past are also unlikely to have been just wars. This volume will interest scholars and upper-level students of political philosophy, philosophy of law, and war studies.

    • Offers a new account of pacifism
    • Features many real-life examples and discusses a range of thinkers including Socrates, Seneca, Grotius, Hobbes, and Kant
    • Provides applications of approaches including contemporary just war theory, international law and human rights, and conscientious objection
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107547667
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Varieties of Pacifism:
    2. Traditional pacifism
    3. The idea of contingent pacifism
    Part II. Human Rights and the Just War:
    4. Proportionality, immunity, and human rights
    5. Necessity and the rights of soldiers
    6. Innocence and complicity
    Part III. International Law and the Practice of Peace:
    7. The United Nations Charter and outlawing war
    8. Human rights law and the right to life during war
    9. International law and post-war justice
    Part IV. Conscience and Conscientious Refusal:
    10. Conscience, integrity, and morality
    11. Public conscience and civil disobedience
    12. Selective conscientious refusal
    13. Final thoughts and conclusions

  • Author

    Larry May, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
    Larry May is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Law, and Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. He is the author or editor of thirty books, including After War Ends: A Philosophical Perspective (Cambridge, 2012), Global Justice and Due Process (Cambridge, 2011), Genocide: A Normative Account (Cambridge, 2010), Aggression and Crimes against Peace (Cambridge, 2008), War Crimes and Just War (Cambridge, 2007), and Crimes against Humanity (Cambridge, 2005).

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