Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Just War Theory
The term just war theory may relate to two distinct theories of the laws of war. The first theory explores the current positive and customary regulations that govern warfare, as well as the convictions and principles that underlie it. The second is a theory of the morality of wars, investigating which wars are moral, what is the moral behavior within wars, and in particular the extent to which the contemporary laws of war reflect morality. The first section of this entry provides a brief overview of the main themes in contemporary international laws of war, while the second describes the heated philosophical debate concerning the moral standing of this legislation. The international laws of war have two branches: (1) jus ad bellum , a code that specifies the circumstances in which states are permitted to initiate or respond to armed attacks, and (2) jus in bello , a code that ...