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 IAmAnAtheist » Is There Such a Thing as a Just War?

Is There Such a Thing as a Just War?


War is never the answer.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation so long as you honestly prefer all other circumstances to war and you aren’t defining "war" in an unusually narrow way (that is, you wouldn’t say something like, "That wasn’t war, it was self-defense.")

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation unless you would blame a country for not defending itself or its allies militarily.


A just war is a war that is morally justified. That is, it is a war in which a country does not earn moral blame for the act of declaring war.

If a war is just, it must meet certain criteria. If no war is just, then those criteria are either insufficient or impossible to meet. Which (if any) of the following would you say are necessary conditions of a just war?

If you consider any or all of these to be necessary qualities of a just war, you should examine them closely to make sure that they are rigorously defined in your mind. For example, if war is only allowable after all other means to resolve the conflict have been tried, does that imply that passive resistance must be tried before active defense, or that so long as negotiations are taking place you may not declare war, even if the enemy might just be delaying while they build up their army?

Depending on the criteria you select, it may be possible for one party to be waging a just war while another party is not. For example, a country may be just in defending itself from invasion, while the country invading is not just. This implies that a war as a whole might be unjust, even if one of the parties involved in the war is acting justly. Does this create a moral problem for you?

Even if we have a working definition of a just war, all war might be unjust if any of these are true statements:

If war is sometimes just, which (if any) of these would you say is justification for war?

*I use "country" to identify an organization involved in a war, but it is possible that some non-governmental party might be involved (during a revolution, civil war, or crusade, for example.)

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 9:37 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

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