The Just War: An American Reflection on the Morality of War in Our Time

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Ivan R. Dee, 2003 - Philosophy - 217 pages
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"War," Peter Temes writes, "is always wrong but sometimes necessary." With that principle at its center, The Just War offers a critical history of Just War thinking, beginning with ancient epics and extending through American responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11. More than a challenging new appraisal of Just War's history, Mr. Temes's book proposes a radically new vision of Just War thinking, one that respects the received tradition but takes account of the moral experience of today's world. He sees the Gulf War, the turmoil of Yugoslavia, Israel's Occupied Territories, and questions about Iraq and the "war on terror" as moral challenges that cannot be easily resolved but must nevertheless be addressed. Looking closely at the history of Islam, the philosophy of Jihad, Christian thought, the experience of the Crusades, and the Hebrew Bible's teachings about war, he considers their lessons with our modern experience in mind. His clear descriptions of the writings of European thinkers on war, including Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel, are focused on the meanings these ideas must have for us today. And Mr. Temes speaks directly to the central moral questions about war, arriving at the core principles of a Just War philosophy for our time: that it acknowledges the preciousness and value of all human life; that it is a war about the future and not about the past; and that it strengthens the rights of individuals.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

Peter Temes carefully examines diverse traditions of Just War thinking and adds thoughtful commentary and updates, outlining his best, and very sensible, ideas about what Just War doctrine looks like in the twenty-first century. Read full review

The just war: an American reflection on the morality of war in our time

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Temes, president of Antioch New England Graduate School and author of Against School Reform, delivers a philosophical argument about the ethics of war; he not only wants to inform readers but to ... Read full review


We Go to War That We May Have Peace
The Fundamental Ideas of Just War
The Center and

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About the author (2003)

Peter S. Temes is president of the Antioch New England Graduate School and formerly head of the Great Books Foundation. He has taught at every level of American education, including a course on the moral principles of war at Harvard University and the University of Chicago. His most recent book is Against School Reform (And in Praise of Great Teaching). He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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