Taking War Seriously
Philosophy 94, no. 1 (Jan. 2019): 139-60
Towards One, As Many (forthcoming)
22 Pages Posted: 1 May 2019 Last revised: 28 Feb 2022
Date Written: January 14, 2019
Just war theory − as advanced by Michael Walzer, among others − fails to take war seriously enough. This is because it proposes that we regulate war with systematic rules that are comparable to those of a game. Three types of claims are advanced. The first is phenomenological: that the theory's abstract nature interferes with our judgment of what is, and should be, going on. The second is meta-ethical: that the theory's rules are not, in fact, systematic after all, there being inherent contradictions between them. And the third is practical: that by getting people to view war as like a game, the theory promotes its ‘aestheticization’ (play being a central mode of the aesthetic) such that those who fight are encouraged to act in dangerous ways. And war, it goes without saying, is already dangerous enough.
Keywords: Peace and Conflict Studies, Terrorism, Serious Games, War Studies, Dialogue, Just War, Justice, Negotiation, Intellectuals, Just War Theory, Conflict Resolution, Aesthetics and Ethics, John Rawls, Abstraction, Israel, Games, Michael Walzer, Rules of War, Clausewitz, Conflict and Conflict Resolution
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