A Philosophy of War

A Philosophy of War

A Philosophy of War

A Philosophy of War

Excerpt

The philosophical examination of war begins with very general questions: What is war? What is the relationship between human nature and war? To what extent can humans be said to be responsible for war?

A host of philosophers from Plato to Bertrand Russell have turned their attention to war and its various aspects — what causes it, how it should be fought, and whether it should be fought at all. But, in the history of thought, we often see that philosophers ponder war through the lenses of their own particular eras, sometimes making war or man's bellicosity the driving premise of their entire philosophies. Others who have made a life-long study of war have approached it from the specialty of their own discipline, from, say, biology, history, or anthropology, and have thereby attempted to construct consistent theories. While they may provide useful insights, their theories often echo the grand philosophical visions of war or of man's nature produced by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hobbes, Rousseau, or Machiavelli. Broader and more flexible insights may be provided, especially these days, by freelance writers who have the liberty to draw on a variety of disciplines and hence transcend particular philosophical systems: their liberty of mind motivates this work and hopefully sustains its remit. No discipline should be considered “out of bounds” for philosophy and no philosophical vision should be deemed sacrosanct. The works of academic philosophers possess no monopoly on wisdom, but neither are the works of “experts” intellectually inviolable. Philosophy . . .

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