The Status of the Just War Theory

  • James Kellenberger
Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR)


In this chapter the current status of the just war theory is addressed. Several broad criticisms that can be brought against the just war theory are reviewed. One relates to the sovereignty condition, which requires that a just war be declared by a sovereign (or the legitimate authority of the state). The criticism is that it is questionable whether states have sovereignty in this sense. Often a condition of a just war in its conduct that is advanced by just war theorists is that innocent civilians not be intentionally killed, but it has been argued that modern wars invariably involve the intentional killing of innocents. A further criticism is that wars, modern or not, violate justice because they violate the right of persons to be treated as persons. Also in this chapter it is seen how political figures have contemporaneously appealed to just war principles in delineating their governmental position and in justifying specific policies.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Kellenberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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