The Ethics of War

Earlier this evening I went along to a talk at the RSE titled, "The Ethics of War." Speaking were Professor Richard Sorabji and Professor John Kelsay and it was chaired by Richard Holloway. I thought it might be interesting.

And to an extent it was. Sorabji traced the philosophical thought of 'Regime Change' from Aristotle to Aquinas to Vitoria, then up to the 20th Century notion of trusteeship and of course culminating with Iraq in 2003. Kelsay addressed regime change in Islamic thought and tradition; when it might be acceptable or just, what the Qu'ran says on the topic and how Sunni and Shi'i views differ.

While it was interesting, I found Sorabji to be pretty hard work. He ultimately proferred his view that Sovereignty was alive but in a modified form since the end of the cold war - Sovereignty unless. Unless imminence of a massive humanitarian tragedy, unless secession etc. Kelsay didn't really address that particularly but did highlight a fierce debate within Sunni thinking on the tactics of insurgent fighters seeking regime change in particular the requirement of adherence to a code of honour which includes not targetting civilians.

Posted by Paul in Ethics Politics at June 2, 2005 03:57 AM | 0 Comments