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Must a defensible theory of the morality of war must integrate moral reasoning with institutional theory

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Introduction

QUESTION 4, HANDED IN BY 4325000 This essay aims to critically investigate if a defensible theory of the morality of war must integrate moral reasoning with institutional theory. It is essential for this essay to identify where just war theory is situated within the tradition of philosophy of ethics of war. Just war theory is considered to be one of three dominant traditions of thought on ethics of war, along with realism and pacifism. Just war theory is usually identified as the middle course between political realism and pacifism. "Just war theory offers rules to guide decision-makers on the appropriateness of their conduct during the resort to war, conduct during war and the termination phase of the conflict"1. Throughout history a number of philosophers, such as: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant have offered their accounts of just war theory. Evens so, today one book is recognised as the dominant source of just war theory; Michael Walzer's work "Just and Unjust Wars". This essay will revolve around the account of just war theory he offers in this book. Structured around "Just and Unjust Wars", this essay will first introduce in depth, the key elements of just war theory as offered by Michael Walzer to develop a better understanding of the core theoretical approaches to just war theory. Then, some elementary criticisms to why just war needs to incorporate institutional theory will be presented. These criticisms will further be illustrated by an example taken from the article "How the United States justified its war on terrorism: prime morality and the construction of a "just war", by Colin Flint and Ghazi-Walid Falah. ...read more.

Middle

"Even if we regard the duty to intervene as an enforceable duty, it cannot be enforced until an agent is specified to do the intervening. If that duty falls on every state, those states can join in establishing institutions to perform it. This suggests a general moral argument for international government - at a minimum, for establishing and developing political institutions to prevent violence not between states but also within states. Even if states are unable to respond directly to violence in other states, they have a duty to support just and effective institutions at the international level to control it, and they must comply with the laws and policies of those institutions"7. Would this make for a more defensible theory of just war? As George Mavrodes argues at the end of his article "Conventions and the Morality of War": "I suggest that the immunity of non-combatants is not an independent moral rule but rather part of a convention which sets up a morally desirable alternative to war. I argued that some conventions, including this one, generate special moral obligations which cannot be satisfactorily explained and defended without reference to a convention"8. Michael Walzer insists that legal rules defining war are beside the point. He agrees that legal rules, for example forbidding means Mala in Se, such as; forbidding landmines or chemical weapons, could to some extent be desirable, but they are not morally obligatory. Soldiers will be killed, and in which matter they are killed cannot matter that much. ...read more.

Conclusion

"There exist important gaps in the law that needs to be filled by greater attention to moral principles like just war and the historical development of those principles"15. For a defensible theory of the morality of war, it seems evident that institutional theory, binding laws and rules, must be incorporated into a philosophical argument to create a more effective just war theory and thus a theory that would be supported by all. WORD COUNT: 2496 1 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/war/ 2 Orend, B. (2001) Just and Lawful Conduct in War: Reflections on Michael Walzer, p. 2 3 Walzer, M. (1992) Just and Unjust Wars, p. 60-62 4 Walzer, M. (1992) Just and Unjust Wars, p. 21 5 Nardin, T. (2006) International political theory and the question of justice, p. 457 6 Walzer, M. (1992) Just and Unjust Wars, p. 21 7 Nardin, T. (2006) International political theory and the question of justice, p. 463 8 Mavrodes, G., I. (1975) Conventions and the Morality of War, p. 130-131 9 Buchanan, A. (2006) Institutionalizing the Just War, p. 2 10 Buchanan, A. (2006) Institutionalizing the Just War, p. 12 11 Buchanan, A. (2006) Institutionalizing the Just War, p. 38 12 Flint, C. and Falah G-W (2004) How the United States justified its war on terrorism: prime morality and the construction of a "just war", p. 1379 13 Flint, C. and Falah G-W (2004) How the United States justified its war on terrorism: prime morality and the construction of a "just war", p. 1390 14 Buchanan, A. (2006) Institutionalizing the Just War, p. 35 15 Lang, A. (2002) Civilians and War: Dilemmas in Law and Morality, p. 3 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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