Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-first Century? (Paperback)
  • Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-first Century? (Paperback)
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Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-first Century? (Paperback)

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Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 06/09/2012
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With the ending of the strategic certainties of the Cold War, the need for moral clarity over when, where and how to start, conduct and conclude war has never been greater. There has been a recent revival of interest in the just war tradition. But can a medieval theory help us answer twenty-first century security concerns? David Fisher explores how just war thinking can and should be developed to provide such guidance. His in-depth study examines philosophical challenges to just war thinking, including those posed by moral scepticism and relativism. It explores the nature and grounds of moral reasoning; the relation between public and private morality; and how just war teaching needs to be refashioned to provide practical guidance not just to politicians and generals but to ordinary service people. The complexity and difficulty of moral decision-making requires a new ethical approach - here characterised as virtuous consequentialism - that recognises the importance of both the internal quality and external effects of agency; and of the moral principles and virtues needed to enact them. Having reinforced the key tenets of just war thinking, Fisher uses these to address contemporary security issues, including the changing nature of war, military pre-emption and torture, the morality of the Iraq war, and humanitarian intervention. He concludes that the just war tradition provides not only a robust but an indispensable guide to resolve the security challenges of the twenty-first century.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199661053
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 492 g
Dimensions: 239 x 170 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Fresh and compelling ... Fisher's book succeeds in bringing original thinking to the morality of war. * Daniel Philpott, Politics and Religion *
Morality and War is beautifully written, its points reinforced by a wealth of apposite examples drawn from both history and the author's own experience. It is informed, authoritative, and persuasive. It is also important. We live, at least in the West, in an era of wars of choice. This wise book, written by a man who has had to practise the ethics of war as well as reflect on them, should be compulsory reading for all those who have to do the choosing, and the fighting. * Professor Tim Bale, Chair of the Award Committee, announcing the unanimous decision of the judges for the 2012 W.J. M. Mackenzie Book Prize for the best book of the year in political science *
A lucid account and robust defence of the just-war tradition...an admirable book * Anthony Kenny, Times Literary Supplement *
a deep pleasure to read. The concepts are clear, the language and argument accessible to the general reader... a most significant book about the deepest issues: life and death, war and peace, how we approach our common humanity * The Irish Catholic *
a strikingly successful book; lucid, accessible andprovocative. It is among the best works I have read on the ethics of the use of armed force. * International Affairs *
From time to time a book appears on an important subject and becomes a 'must read'. This one is such ... it is certainly the best guide to military ethics in modern times. * RUSI Journal *
Fascinating and persuasive...If you want a well-informed and up-to date assessment of just war theory, written in pellucid prose, then this is the book to buy...It brings together wisdom, clarity, and deep experience, and is both readable and challenging. * Church Times *
a closely argued and immensely stimulating discussion of modern warfare from a moral perspective ... This is a fine book. * New Blackfriars *
Reading this book will do both philosophers and bureaucrats a world of good * Sir Michael Howard *
Many people, including those who have no previous experience of the serious study of ethics, will benefit from reading this book, which is a model of lucidity, precision of argument, and clarity of purpose. * Graham Gould, The Journal of Theological Studies Vol 62 Part 2 Oct 2011 *
an admirable book... like all good philosophers he brings every issue down to earth with luminous examples ... irresistible * British Army Review *
Fisher takes the innovative step of introducing virtue theory into these debates ... raises challenging and thought-provoking questions. To help resolve them virtuous consequentialism offers practitioners and theorists an important analytical and educational tool. * Ethics and International Affairs *
This discussion of the ethics of warfare by a professional philosopher and former civil servant is to be studied (and occasionally disagreed with) by anyone concerned with global politics today. I recommend it warmly (as book of the year choice, 2011). * Brian Wicker, The Tablet *
David Fisher seeks to develop the just war tradition further in response to today's circumstances. He is almost uniquely qualified for this task, having been trained as a moral philosopher and then having spent his career as a senior official in the UK Ministry of Defence. * Financial Times *
The book eloquently makes clear that no one, from the soldier in the trenches to the commander in chief, can escape moral choices. The only question is whether one's choices are worthy and well reasoned. * Foreign Affairs *
The book is well written, clearly articulated and does not shy from using the tradition for what it was intended to do - make judgements about the use of deadly force. * Expository Times *
one of the best books on the subject I have read ... one of the great strengths is that he locates his discussion of the ethics of warfare within a wider discussion of ethics in general. * Church of England Newspaper *
This book poses fascinating questions about the moral implications of the War on Terror...It should be read by anyone with an interest in the rights and wrongs of modern warfare. * Military Affairs *
David Fisher's conclusions are lit up by practical wisdom drawn from many sources. * The Tablet *
provides intelligent, informed and demanding discussion of a wide range of moral issues that modern warfare raises...The book will be a demanding and rewarding read for anyone interested in these issues. * Paul Heim, evangelicals now *
a well-informed, well-argued exposition of the continuing relevance of the Just War tradition, combined with a passionate polemic for the importance of ethics education, both within the Armed Forces, and beyond. * Journal of Military Ethics *
the author's efforts to broker a dialogue between the just war tradition and the Aristotelian conception of virtue strike me as breath of fresh air, welcome and daring in equal measure. * Perspectives on Politics *
sheds important new light on the role of ethical and philosophical thinking about war ... an important contribution to the Just War debate. * Survival *
an admirably clear and concise summary of the requirements of the just war tradition... the very real contribution which the book makes (is) to renewing the credibility and the applicability of just war thinking in the age of jihad, drones, and non-state actors. * Theological Studies *
a lucid discussion and application of just war theory ... intellectually robust, well-written. * Michael Skerker, Journal of the American Academy of Religion *

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