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Second edition
Author: A. J. Coates

Though the just war tradition has an ancient pedigree, like any tradition of thought, it is subject to historical highs and lows. Drawing on examples from the history of warfare from the Crusades to the present day, this book explores the limits and possibilities of the moral regulation of war. It focuses on the tensions which exist between war and morality. The moral ambiguity and mixed record of that tradition is acknowledged and the dangers which an exaggerated view of the justice or moral worth of war poses are underlined. The adoption of a 'dispositional' view of ethical life, in which moral character and moral culture play a decisive part, widens and transforms the ethics of war. Realism resists the application of morality to war. Pacifism harms and benefits the just war tradition in about equal measure. In opposition to the amoral and wholly pragmatic approach of the 'pure' realist, the just war theorist insists on the moral determination of war where that is possible, and on the moral renunciation of war where it is not. Moral realism is what the just war tradition purports to be about. Legitimate authority has become entirely subordinated to the concept of state sovereignty. If moderate forms of consequentialism threaten the principle of noncombatant immunity, more extreme or purer forms clearly undermine it. The strategic and the ethical problems of counterterrorism are compounded by the emergence of a new and more extreme form of terrorism.

Abstract only
A. J. Coates

moral limitation are utopian and, through their neglect of harsh and abiding realities, put at risk the delicate and necessarily imperfect balance in which international order consists. The idea of a moral realism is a contradiction in terms. Moral realism, on the other hand, is what the just war tradition purports to be about. Unlike the realist, the just war theorist insists on the moral determination of war. In just war analysis this moral determination of war is divided into two distinct though closely related parts, one dealing with the question of recourse to

in The ethics of war
A distinctive politics?
Author: Richard Taylor

English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.

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David McGrogan

Oakeshott so deplored. 7 Rather, it is to suggest that some “moral realism” is required. On this point it is worth returning to Koskenniemi. It is unwise in an academic article or monograph to comment too closely on current events. But it is difficult to ignore the fact that, as of the time of writing this book, international lawyers in general have been swept up in collective dismay about contemporary political developments. A supposed “revolt against the elites” is said to be taking place around the world. 8 This is characterised in a wide variety of ways. But

in Critical theory and human rights
Abstract only
David McGrogan

Moral realism Lionel Trilling once called for a “moral realism” to alert those concerned with social injustice that there was a danger in the “moral life” – that to choose to act did not settle all moral problems, but simply displaced them. 1 The “moral passions,” as he called them, were “wilful and imperious and impatient” – and their tendency was not to liberate, but to restrict. “Some paradox in our natures leads us,” as he put it, “when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on and make them the objects of our

in Critical theory and human rights
Mapping the industrial working-class home
Hollie Price

opening sequence draws attention to its observational mode of address. This leads us to Higson’s definition of ‘moral realism’, which he notes as involving ‘a moral commitment to a particular set of social problems and solutions, a particular social formation’ and, for the documentarists, focused on ‘ the dignity of the working man ’. 31 Following the shift from the grim industrial conditions of the external landscape in Hankey Park, the observation of Mrs Hardcastle’s kitchen routines conveys a sense of her personal strength and everyday ‘dignity’ in the face of

in Picturing home
Abstract only
A. J. Coates

) have been identified already. The most important variable, however, so far as the ethics of war is concerned, is the nature and extent of realism’s resistance to morality. Here degrees of realism are discernible, varying from an amoral realism that disclaims any moral intention or concern to a form of moral realism that approximates to just war thinking. Realism of the amoral kind systematically suppresses the moral context of politics and war. Such realism may be either theoretical or practical in its orientation. Both forms claim to be morally neutral and detached

in The ethics of war
Torbjörn Tännsjö

radical epistemic moral relativism is correct. It is interesting to speculate about what ontological conclusions we should draw from such an epistemic relativism, if it turned out to be the truth of the matter, and, even, what ontological conclusions we are allowed to draw from the mere possibility that such diversity might come to result from our pursuit of truth and explanation in ethics. Does epistemic relativism indicate that we ought to give up moral realism and the idea that there is a true answer to our moral problems to be sought ‘out there?’ Should we give up

in From reason to practice in bioethics
Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard

principle which will eventually replace it, so that we must take the needs principle as being a yet superior one. He proposes, in other words, a hierarchy of distributive principles; and as they are not ranked by him according to any extrinsic standard of value, it is a reasonable supposition that he simply sees some principles as fairer or more just than others intrinsically, on a trans-historical standard of justice. 42 Moral realism iv. Marx’s seemingly relativist statements in this area are not, in fact, what many have taken them to be. They are statements not of

in The Norman Geras Reader
Open Access (free)
Anthony Coates

and the moral degradation that is the common, if not inevitable, accompaniment of war. Unlike its ‘positive’ rival, therefore, the concept of just war as restraint does not ‘idealise’ war. On the contrary it keeps the physical and moral costs of war clearly and constantly in view. In this regard it remains faithful to Augustine’s counsel of moral realism: ‘Take off the cloak of vain opinion, and let such evil

in Political concepts