An Essay on the Concept of Just War

Document details
Category: Philosophy Essay
Subcategory: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
Words: 1756
Pages: 5

What exactly is a just war? These two words seem to form an oxymoron. War is usually thought of as a type of hostile conflict, which would therefore make war seem unjust. Throughout history, there have been many different broad interpretations of what exactly makes a war just. St. Augustine was one of the first writers to say that the objective of war should be peace. He specifically called for three conditions to go to war justly ( He said that there must be lawful authority, a purpose of securing peace, and the absence of improper motives for making war. He specifically said The desire for harming, the cruelty of revenge, the restless and implacable mind, the lust for dominating, and similar things are not justifiable reasons for going to war. Once at war, the minimum force required to achieve peace is all that is permitted ( This however, is the opinion of just one. What composites of war make that war justifiable? St. Augustines ideas about what a just war should be certainly seem to make sense. I feel that most would agree that obtaining peace should be a major purpose in going to war. Another Saint also had similar ideas on the doctrine of war. St. Thomas Aquinas felt that in order for a war to be just, it must be waged by a lawful authority, with just cause, and must be fought for the right intentions ( These three conditions of a just war are very similar to what St. Augustine said, although Aquinas does not specifically include the word peace. He does, however, specifically say, War must be fought in order to achieve some...

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