Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kainz, Howard

Second Advisor

Stohrer, Walter J.

Third Advisor

Snow, Nancy E.


This project is all about possibilities: Is it possible for ethical principles to play a crucial role in the decision of a country to go to war? Can ethics place realistic constraints on the conduct of wars? Even if both questions can be answered in the affirmative, are our traditional moral concerns sufficient to address the issue of nuclear weapons possession and use? The purpose of this dissertation is to address the concerns of each of these questions, and answer each in the affirmative. In essence, it is a defense of what has come to be called the "Just War Theory. Perhaps this is a misnomer, for there is no real "theory" involved in this tradition of the justified war. Rather, there are a series of ethical determinations of warfare that have developed in the course of Western history which have been held to be the moral norm for determining whether or not a given war is (or was) ethically permissible. Thus, perhaps it would be better to refer to this history as the Just War Tradition. At any rate, these criteria have developed along two levels. The first concern is with the ends of war, that is, with what constitutes morally legitimate reasons for engaging in war. This is referred to as the jus ad bellum. The second level is jus in bello, and concerns itself with the means of war: whether certain actions are proportional to the ends, and whether or not the innocent in war are sufficiently protected from the crossfire. In point of fact, it is possible to say-and this is the interpretation that will be defended here-that the Just War Theory is a direct answer to the question: "Do the ends justify the means?" as applied to the issue of war. More specifically, the question can be formulated in the following way: "Does a just end justify a prima facie immoral means?" The history of the development of the answer this tradition gives to this question will be the focus of Chapter One...



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