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Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace

Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace

by Gregory M. Reichberg


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Inquiring 'whether any war can be just', Thomas Aquinas famously responded that this may hold true, provided the war is conducted by a legitimate authority, for a just cause, and with an upright intention. Virtually all accounts of just war, from the Middle Ages to the current day, make reference to this threefold formula. But due in large measure to its very succinctness, Aquinas's theory has prompted contrasting interpretations. This book sets the record straight by surveying the wide range of texts in his literary corpus that have bearing on peace and the ethics of war. Thereby emerges a coherent and nuanced picture of just war as set within his systematic moral theory. It is shown how Aquinas deftly combined elements from earlier authors, and how his teaching has fruitfully propelled inquiry on this important topic by his fellow scholastics, later legal theorists such as Grotius, and contemporary philosophers of just war.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108730167
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/24/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Gregory M. Reichberg is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). He has coedited several volumes, including Religion, War and Ethics: A Sourcebook of Textual Traditions (Cambridge, 2014), and Ethics of War: Classical and Contemporary Readings (2006). His recent publications include 'The Decision to Use Military Force in Classical Just War Thinking' in the Ashgate Research Companion on Military Ethics (2015), 'Historiography of Just War Theory' in the Oxford Handbook of War and Ethics (2016), and 'Jacques Maritain, Christian Just War Theorist' in the Journal of Military Ethics (2016).

Table of Contents

Part I. Just War in Aquinas's Typology of the Virtues: 1. Just war among the Quaestiones on charity; 2. War's permissibility; 3. Interpreting the gospel 'Precepts of Patience'; 4. Military prudence; 5. Battlefield courage; Part II. Selected Topics: 6. Legitimate authority; 7. War and punishment; 8. Self-defense; 9. Preventive war; 10. The moral equality of combatants; Epilogue: 11. St Thomas and the doctrine of bellum iustum today.

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