Arguments Against Pacifism and Moral Support for Pacifism

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


In this chapter some seven arguments against pacifism are presented and answered. These include the arguments that it is internally incoherent, and that it is counter to human nature. Also in this chapter moral support for pacifism is presented. Pretheoretical moral intuitions are divided on pacifism, it is conceded, but theoretical moral reflection does provide support for pacifism. It is argued that utilitarian thinking, Kant’s deontological ethics, and virtue ethics can all be mustered in support of pacifism and that, as well, the requirements of moral justice provide an argument for pacifism. Pretheoretical morality is divided on the issue of pacifism, on whether killing in war is ever proper, but this is not to say that no support for pacifism or the repudiation of war is to be found in the received categories of pretheoretical morality. The argument for pacifism based on moral justice that is discussed proceeds from a consideration of the pretheoretical moral concept of justice.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations