Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent

Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent


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This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of warfare ethics in early China as well as its subsequent development.

Chinese attitudes toward war are rich and nuanced, ranging across amoral realism, defensive just war, humanitarian intervention, and mournful skepticism. Covering the five major intellectual traditions in the "golden age" of Chinese civilization: Confucian, Daoist, Mohist, Legalist, and Military Strategy schools, the book’s chapters immerse readers in the proper historical contexts, examine the moral concerns in the classical texts on their own terms, reframe those concerns in contemporary ethical idioms, and forge a critical dialogue between the past and the present. The volume develops fresh moral interpretations of classical texts such as The Art of War, Mencius, Xunzi, Mozi, and the Daodejing and discusses famous philosophers such as Han Fei and Wang Yang-ming, representing antithetical schools of thought about warfare. Attention is also given to the military ethics of the People’s Liberation Army, examining its thinking against the backdrop of its own civilizational context.

This book will be of much interest to students of just war theory, Chinese politics, ethics, and philosophy, military studies, and International Relations in general.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138824355
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/13/2015
Series: War, Conflict and Ethics Series
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ping-cheung Lo is Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is the author or editor of fifteen books.

Sumner B. Twiss is Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion at Florida State University, USA, and author or editor of seven books.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Varieties of Statecraft and Warfare Ethics in Early China: An Overview, Ping-cheung Lo Part I: The Military Tradition 2. The Art of War Corpus and Chinese Just War Ethics Past and Present, Ping-cheung Lo 3. Warfare Ethics in Sunzi’s Art of War? Historical Controversies and Contemporary Perspectives, Ping-cheung Lo Part II: The Confucian Tradition 4. The Classical Confucian Position on the Legitimate Use of Military Force, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan 5. Classical Confucianism, Punitive Expeditions, and Humanitarian Intervention, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan 6. Xunzi’s Moral Analysis of War and Some of Its Contemporary Implications, Aaron Stalnaker 7. Wang Yang-ming's Ethics of War, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan Part III: The Daoist and Legalist Traditions 8. "Weapons Are Nothing but Ominous Instruments": The Daodejing’s View on War and Peace, Ellen Y. Zhang 9. Zheng (Punitive Expeditions) as Zheng (Corrective Actions): A Daoist Challenge to Punitive Expeditions, Ellen Y. Zhang 10. Mohist Arguments on War, Hui-chieh Loy 11. Legalism and Offensive Realism in the Chinese Court Debate on Defending National Security 81 BCE, , Ping-cheung. Lo

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