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Realist Ethics

Realist Ethics
Just War Traditions as Power Politics

  • Publication planned for: January 2018
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108402477

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  • Just war thinking and realism are commonly presumed to be in opposition. If realists are seen as war-mongering pragmatists, just war thinkers are seen as naïve at best and pacifistic at worst. Just war thought is imagined as speaking truth to power - forcing realist decision-makers to abide by moral limits governing the ends and means of the use of force. Realist Ethics argues that this oversimplification is not only wrong, but dangerous. Casting just war thought to be the alternative to realism makes just war thinking out to be what it is not - and cannot be: a mechanism for avoiding war. A careful examination of the evolution of just war thinking in the Christian, Islamic, and Hindu traditions shows that it is no stranger to pragmatic politics. From its origins, just war thought has not aimed to curtail violence, but rather to shape the morally imaginable uses of force, deeming some of them necessary and even obligatory. Morkevičius proposes here a radical recasting of the relationship between just war thinking and realism.

    • Proposes a new way of thinking about the relationship between just war thinking and realism
    • Provides a comparative approach to thinking about just war thought
    • Argues that just war thinking is a political tradition
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: January 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108402477
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
  • Table of Contents

    1. The dangers of just war thinking (or how I learned to love realists)
    2. Sharing the middle passage: parallels between realism and just war thinking
    3. Power, powder, politics: just war's historical and political contingencies
    4. Between two kingdoms: the Christian just war traditions
    5. Taming the world of war: the Islamic just war traditions
    6. Balancing the Mandala: the Hindu just war tradition
    7. What's old is new again: the future of just war thinking.

  • Author

    Valerie Morkevičius, Colgate University, New York
    Valerie Morkevičius is Associate Professor of Political Science at Colgate University, New York. Her work focuses on the intersection between power and ethics, and the applicability of traditional just war thinking to contemporary challenges. Her recent publications include 'Power and Order: The Shared Logics of Realism and Just War Theory' in the International Studies Quarterly. She has also written chapters on just war thinking in Islam, Hinduism, and Protestantism, contributing to World Religions and Norms of War (2009), The Prism of Just War: Asian and Western Perspectives on the Legitimate Use of Military Force (2010), and Religion, War and Ethics: A Sourcebook of Textual Tradition (Cambridge, 2014).

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