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Just War Theory

A Reappraisal

Edited by Mark Evans


Despite the millennial hopes for peace wishfully harboured by so many, the opening years of the twenty-first century have seen the morality of war remain urgently central to political argument around the world.

The just war tradition has provided one of the most beguiling frameworks for the question of when it is right to go to war, and how war ought to be conducted. However, criticisms of it are as old as the tradition itself and many now claim that the nature of contemporary warfare has made it truly redundant.

This book addresses the criticisms and explores new angles to just war thinking, analysing its practical adequacy in the face of modern-day realities. It is written with the aim of stimulating debate, recasting or revivifying critical reservations, but also powerfully demonstrating how just war theory cannot be ignored if we take seriously the moral questions warfare forces upon us.

Key Features

  • Focuses on individual elements of Just War Theory to clarify specific claims and explore very particular issues
  • Uses a clear, analytical writing style to ensure clarity for the reader
  • Raises new questions not addressed in other Just War literature
  • Focuses on contemporary moral applications of Just War theory
  • Shows how Just War theory can serve as a basis for anti-war movements


Introduction: Moral Theory and the Idea of a Just War
Mark Evans (University of Wales, Swansea)
Part 1: Just Cause
2. The Justice of Preemption and Preventive War Doctrines
Neta C. Crawford (Brown University, RI)
3. Punitive Intervention: Enforcing Justice or Creating Conflict?
Anthony F. Lang Jr (University of St Andrews)
4. In Humanity's Name: Democracy and the Right to Wage War
Mark Evans (University of Wales, Swansea)
Part 2: Justice in the Conduct of War
5. The Concept of Proportionality: Old Problems, New Ambiguities
Kateri Carmola (Middlebury College, Vermont)
6. Just War? Just Children?
Helen Brocklehurst (University of Wales, Swansea)
7. Is There a Supreme Emergency Exemption?
Brian Orend (University of Waterloo, Western Ontario)
Part 3: Justice and the End of War
8. Security Beyond the State: Cosmopolitanism, Peace and the Role of Just War Theory
Patrick Hayden (Victoria University, Wellington)
9. Forgiveness and Reconciliation in 'Jus Post Bellum'
Andrew Rigby (Coventry University)
10. Conclusion: In Defence of Just War Theory
Mark Evans (University of Wales, Swansea)

About the Author

Mark Evans is Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Wales, Swansea and author of Liberal Justifications.


A timely work that engages with many important issues of the day … In many respects the most salient aspect of this volume is its ability to dissect the moral rhetoric increasingly espoused by the Bush administration … If just war is to be more than simply a rhetorical device then this exploration of its applicability to current policy is welcome and necessary.
- Political Studies Review