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The Just War: Force and Political Responsibility
     

The Just War: Force and Political Responsibility

by Paul Ramsey
 

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In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, the question of "just war" has become a hotly contested issue, and this classic text on war and the ethics of modern statecraft written at the height of the Vietnam era in 1968 speaks to a new generation of readers. In defending just war against Christian pacifism, Ramsey joins a line of theological reasoning that traces its

Overview

In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, the question of "just war" has become a hotly contested issue, and this classic text on war and the ethics of modern statecraft written at the height of the Vietnam era in 1968 speaks to a new generation of readers. In defending just war against Christian pacifism, Ramsey joins a line of theological reasoning that traces its antecedents to Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Ramsey argues that decisions regarding war must be governed by "political prudence." Whether a particular war should be fought, and at what level of violence, depends, Ramsey writes, on one's count of the moral costs and benefits. Characterized by a sophisticated yet back-to-basics approach, his analysis begins with the assumption that force is a fact in political life which must either be reckoned with or succumbed to. He then grapples with modern challenges to traditional moral principles of "just conduct" in war, the "morality of deterrence," and a "just war theory of statecraft."

Author Biography: Paul Ramsey, one of the leading theologians of the 20th century, was professor of religion at Princeton University. Among his many writings are "Basic Christian Ethics, Nine Modern Moralists," and "War and the Christian Conscience: How Shall Modern War be Conducted Justly."

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
When Scribner first published Ramsey's (religion, Princeton U.) book, it was dismissed as a defense of his support for the Vietnam war and the US nuclear arsenal. Discussion of notions about just war after September 11 has recalled it from the grave. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Theodore R. Weber
The enduring merit of Paul Ramsey's work is his ability to identify fundamental politcal-moral doctorine, clarify its theological sources and meanings, and apply it analytically and critically to the murkiest and most complicated problems of political-moral practice. The Just War is a masterful collection of theoretical ethical reflections on the actual doing of politics.
Oliver O'Donovan
Since its first appearance in 1968 Paul Ramsey's The Just War has established itself as a reference point in the Christian discussion of war and deterrence in the English-speaking world. Ramsey thinks with searching intensity, and demands a great deal of his readers in thoughtfulness and concentration. He rewards them with an experience of intellectual penetration which is all too rare in the discussion of contemporary problems.
Religious Studies Review
The work is dense and wide-ranging. With this most welcome edition, the valuable lessons of Ramsey's The Just War should be extended to a new generation of students and scholars.
J. Bryan Hehir
Anyone seriously concerned with the moral questions of modern warfare must confront the careful thinking of Paul Ramsey. One may not always agree but one never fails to learn—even in moments of disagreement.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822630142
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/15/1991
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
524
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

Paul Ramsey, one of the leading theologians of the 20th century, was professor of religion at Princeton University. Among his many writings are Basic Christian Ethics, Nine Modern Moralists, and War and the Christian Conscience: How Shall Modern War be Conducted Justly.

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