Gregory M. Reichberg, Henrik Syse, and Endre Begby, eds. The Ethics of War: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Hardcover, xxii + 731 pp.
With over 30 wars fought in the world during the past two decades, and especially in view of the recent unjust wars waged in Afghanistan and Iraq, it makes eminent sense to ponder war from a moral perspective. The present anthology includes 58 selections from ancient and modern authorities—covering Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, John of Salisbury, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Erasmus, Machiavelli, Luther, Grotius, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Bertrand Russel, and Kofi Annan, to mention just some of the illustrious figures whose knowledge and wisdom is found distilled in this hefty volume.
As the editors observe in their Preface, whether or not a war is just, it always causes fear, suffering, and destruction. War is undoubtedly a disgraceful aspect of human existence, and, today, when our powers of destruction exceed anything known in history, it is clearly urgent to ponder this dark side of our life. The many extracts from the works of some of humanity’s finest minds can help us in this task.
I can highly recommend this comprehensive and nicely balanced anthology.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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