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The Ethics of War: Classic and Contemporary Readings [Paperback]

Gregory M. Reichberg , Henrik Syse , Endre Begby
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 26, 2006 1405123788 978-1405123785 1
The Ethics of War is an indispensable collection of essays addressing issues both timely and age-old about the nature and ethics of war.

  • Features essays by great thinkers from ancient times through to the present day, among them Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Grotius, Kant, Russell, and Walzer
  • Examines timely questions such as: When is recourse to arms morally justifiable? What moral constraints should apply to military conduct? How can a lasting peace be achieved?
  • Will appeal to a broad range of readers interested in morality and ethics in war time

  • Includes informative introductions and helpful marginal notes by editors


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a superb, comprehensive collection of the basic texts that make up the just war tradition. Some have been very difficult to get hold of and others have been translated for the first time. It will be an indispensable resource for all departments of international affairs, ethics, war studies, peace studies and many history departments." Times Higher Education, 25 May 2007

"As a collection of key readings, each prefaced by editorial comment, it can scarcely be bettered."
The Times <!--end-->

"An invaluable resource for many readers for years to come...anyone interested in the history of western thought on the subject of war will find [the volume] fascinating."
Peace News

"On balance...The Ethics of War will serve as a tremendous resource for students, teachers and writers for decades to come. We owe its editors much gratitude for their diligent compilation of a tremendous range of texts, and their careful scholarly analysis of the arguments to be found within them."
David L. Perry, United States Army War College

"This superbly edited and thoughtfully organized collection brings together all of the essential texts of the just war tradition in one single volume. An outstanding achievement!"
George R. Lucas, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy



"A unique and extremely well-done collection of essays culled from every period of Western history – some of which were previously unavailable in English. This is an important anthology, one that should be read and re-read by any serious student of the perennial ethical problems of warfare."
Carl Ficarotta, US Air Force Academy

"This magnificent volume allows readers both to learn about the past and from the past. It will be of great value to historians, while those who are concerned with the burning current issues of just war will appreciate the depth of analysis of their predecessors."
Jon Elster, Collège de France

"Although this book is primarily aimed at the academic market, anyone interested in the history of western thought on the subject of war will find it fascinating"
Peace News

From the Back Cover


The Ethics of War is a much-needed anthology addressing issues both timely and age-old about the nature of war. When is recourse to arms morally justifiable? What moral constraints should apply to military conduct? How can a lasting peace be achieved? Over the past two and a half millennia a substantive body of ethical reflection has emerged in response to these and similar questions. This volume offers a collection of texts by ancient, medieval, and modern thinkers.

Never before have such seminal texts on the ethics of war been gathered together in a single volume. The Ethics of War is an indispensable resource for philosophers, students, and general readers alike.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 760 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (June 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405123788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405123785
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you take just war theory seriously buy this book February 22, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a Catholic seminarian who hopes to serve as an Army chaplain so the topics addressed in this book are of extreme importance to me. I have read extensively in the area of just war theory and this might be the best single book I have come across.

The discussion of the views Aquinas and other medieval and counter-reformation era Catholics when it comes to offensive war were of particular interest. They show that from the 13th to 17th centuries there was a general consensus among major Catholic thinkers that offensive wars were justifiable in some circumstances. This is a line of thought that was seemingly ignored by many who sought to apply the just war theory during the build up to the Iraq War. That is not to say that serious questions can't be asked about the wisdom of the decision to invade Iraq. However, it does show that those Christians who automatically dismissed the legitimacy of an offensive war were not taking into consideration the whole of the just war tradition.

The authors of this book also provided a service by including some material relevant to the discussion of whether or not the Church as a whole accepted pacifism prior to the conversion of the Empereor Constantine. It is good to see someone make an effort to dismiss this false claim. However, there are other sources that do a better job of discussing the pre-Constantinian sources. "When God Says War is Right" by Darrel Cole, "The Virtue of War" by Cole and Fr. Alexander Webster, and Louis J. Swift's book on Patristic just war sources cover this particular topic in greater depth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best January 8, 2014
By John
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the best book you can read about the Just War doctrine and reflections about the morality of war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and authoritative anthology November 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First read in Ethics of Warfare class at US Naval Academy. Very detailed, thorough anthology, and makes some very obscure but valuable texts accessible. Would love to see one of these from the same editors of the Eastern tradition.
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