Just War Theory - Alternative Theories

Alternative Theories

  • Militarism – Militarism is the belief that war is not inherently bad but can be a beneficial aspect of society.
  • Realism – The core proposition of realism is a skepticism as to whether moral concepts such as justice can be applied to the conduct of international affairs. Proponents of realism believe that moral concepts should never prescribe, nor circumscribe, a state's behaviour. Instead, a state should place an emphasis on state security and self-interest. One form of realism – descriptive realism – proposes that states cannot act morally, while another form – prescriptive realism – argues that the motivating factor for a state is self-interest. Just wars that violate Just Wars principles effectively constitute a branch of realism.
  • Revolution and Civil War – Just War Theory states that a just war must have just authority. To the extent that this is interpreted as a legitimate government, this leaves little room for revolutionary war or civil war, in which an illegitimate entity may declare war for reasons that fit the remaining criteria of Just War Theory. This is less of a problem if the "just authority" is widely interpreted as "the will of the people" or similar. Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions side-steps this issue by stating that if one of the parties to a civil war is a High Contracting Party (in practice, the state recognised by the international community,) both Parties to the conflict are bound "as a minimum, the following provisions." Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention also makes clear that the treatment of prisoners of war is binding on both parties even when captured soldiers have an "allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power."
  • Nonviolent struggle – The "just war" criterion of "last resort" requires believers to look for alternative means of conflict. The methods of nonviolent action permit the waging of political struggle without resort to violence. Historical evidence and political theory can be examined to determine whether nonviolent struggle can be expected to be effective in future conflicts. If nonviolent action is determined effective, then the requirements for "just war" are not met.
  • Absolutism – Absolutism holds that there are various ethical rules that are absolute. Breaking such moral rules is never legitimate and therefore is always unjustifiable.

A "just war" – if there could be such a thing – would not require conscription. Volunteers would be plentiful.

Ben Salmon, An Open Letter to President Wilson (October 14, 1919)
  • Pacifism – Pacifism is the belief that war of any kind is morally unacceptable and/or pragmatically not worth the cost. Pacifists extend humanitarian concern not just to enemy civilians but also to combatants, especially conscripts. For example, Ben Salmon believed all war to be unjust. He was sentenced to death during World War I (later commuted to 25 years hard labor) for desertion and spreading propaganda.
  • Right of self-defence – The theory of self-defence based on rational self-interest maintains that the use of retaliatory force is justified against repressive nations that break the zero aggression principle. In addition, if a free country is itself subject to foreign aggression, it is morally imperative for that nation to defend itself and its citizens by whatever means necessary. Thus, any means to achieve a swift and complete victory over the enemy is imperative. This view is prominently held by Objectivists.
  • Consequentialism – The moral theory most frequently summarized in the words "the end justifies the means," which tends to support the just war theory (unless the just war causes less beneficial means to become necessary, which further requires worst actions for self-defense with bad consequences).

Read more about this topic:  Just War Theory

Other articles related to "alternative theories":

Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy - Alternative Theories - Second Gunman Theory
... In 2007, analysis of an audio tape recording of the shooting made by freelance reporter Stanislaw Pruszynski appeared to indicate, according to forensic expert Philip Van Praag, that thirteen shots were fired, even though Sirhan's gun held only eight rounds ... Van Praag states that the recording also reveals at least two cases where the timing between shots was shorter than physically possible ...

Famous quotes containing the words theories and/or alternative:

    Philosophers of science constantly discuss theories and representation of reality, but say almost nothing about experiment, technology, or the use of knowledge to alter the world. This is odd, because ‘experimental method’ used to be just another name for scientific method.... I hope [to] initiate a Back-to-Bacon movement, in which we attend more seriously to experimental science. Experimentation has a life of its own.
    Ian Hacking (b. 1936)

    If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?
    Graham Greene (1904–1991)