Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense (PHIL 272.001)

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Instructor: Bernie Boxill. This class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. in Gardner 09, with recitations on Fridays.

The main objective of the course is to introduce students to some of the classic philosophical theorizing about war and peace. The main topics are, Just War Theory, Terrorism, Realism, Kantian Internationalism, and Democratic Peace Theory. Just War Theory: What conditions if any justify war? Is preventive war ever justified? How are preventive wars different from preemptive wars? Are there moral rules governing the conduct of war? What are the rules of justice after war is ended, for example, reparation and punishment of war criminals? Terrorism: Is there a difference between terrorism and war? Can terrorism ever be morally justified? Realism: Is it true that independent states will always be in a state of war, and that war is meaningfully described as prudent or imprudent rather than as morally right or wrong? What is a balance of power and how does it contribute to peace? Kantian Internationalism: the view that independent states can eventually secure peace, and that spreading democracy and trade, and developing international organizations are the best means to do so. Democratic Peace Theory: The contemporary version of Kantian internationalism according to which democratic states never go to war against each other.

Bernie Boxill’s webpage