Just War Theory: So What?

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Botticelli, 1494, Uffizi Gallery

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Botticelli, 1494, Uffizi Gallery


Over the centuries theologians, philosophers, and political scientists have looked to Just War Theory to help them determine when and how war should be waged. First developed by St. Augustine, Just War Theory continues to dominate discussions on making war today. Producer Frank Faulk asks whether Just War Theory has become little more than an intellectual, moral and theological fraud, or whether it's actually provided constraints on an intrinsically violent phenomenon.

The real evils in war are love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power, and such like; and it is generally to punish these things, when force is required to inflict the punishment, that, in obedience to God or some lawful authority, good men undertake wars."

Saint Augustine, City of God

Participants in the program:

Brian Orend is a professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and the Director of International Studies there. He's also the author of The Morality of War, which looks at the evolution of Just War Theory.

Stanley Hauerwas is a professor of theology and ethics at the Divinity School at Duke University, North Carolina.  He is also one of America's leading voices for Christian pacifism, and has written numerous books and articles on the Christianity and non-violence. Read a transcript of a discussion on Just War Theory in which Hauerwas participated.  The Hauerwas Reader, is a collection of essays by Stanley Hauerwas. It includes a pacifist's view of Just War Theory.

Michael J. Butler is a professor of political science at Clark University in Massachusetts. He's also the author of Selling a Just War: Framing Legitimacy in U.S. Military Intervention.

Stephanie Belanger is an associate professor in the French Department at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, where her research focuses on war and how soldiers and society justify it.  She is also the Associate Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research.

Related Websites:

Just War Theory: Is it intellectual fraud?

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