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The Ethics of Peace and War

Iain Atack

Looks at the role of 3 theories – cosmopolitanism, internationalism and political realism – in armed conflict

The ethics of peace and war is one of the central ethical issues in International Relations today. Arguing in favour of cosmopolitanism, with its emphasis on the equal worth of all human beings, Iain Atack shows this theory has a vital role to play in international politics in light of changing conceptions of peace and security, the prevalence of civil wars over international wars and the increasing emphasis on justifying military force as humanitarian intervention.

Key Features

  • Examines two contrasting positions on the ethics of war and armed conflict: pacifism and just war theory
  • Analyses contemporary issues and debates including postmodern and asymmetrical war, and peace-building and conflict prevention
  • Unpacks the ambiguous role of the state in controlling and justifying the use of military force and in constructing a new cosmopolitan world order


Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Part 1: International politics and the morality of peace and war
Chapter 2
Political realism and state violence
Chapter 3
Internationalism and the rule of law
Chapter 4
Cosmopolitanism and armed conflict
Part 2: Ethical approaches to peace and war
Chapter 5
Just war and the state
Chapter 6
The politics of pacifism
Part 3: Cosmopolitan strategies
Chapter 7
Post-modern war
Chapter 8
Human security, human rights and human development
Chapter 9
Humanitarian intervention, cosmopolitanism and pacifism
Chapter 10
Peacebuilding and international conflict management
Chapter 11

About the Author

Iain Atack is Assistant Professor of International Peace Studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin and editor of The Ethics of Debt ‘Forgiveness’: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives on the Third World Debt Crisis.

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