Sunday, February 13, 2005

Moral realism in just war theory

I am not finally persuaded that moral realism - in the sense that term is used in just war theory discussions - is sufficient as an ethics of war. The issue is how to build in what is right and necessary in its consequentialism into a fuller theory of the just war.

And the best definition of this moral realism, the most sympathetic and persuasive, comes, curiously, from Thomas Berger's marvelous Arthur Rex, in which the Lady of the Lake says to the dying Arthur, just before he goes to slay his son Mordred, "Thine obligation was to maintain power in as decent a way as would be yet the most effective." I am not aware of any definition of moral realism which improves upon this.

(I'm afraid I've been away from blogging here a bit; I will be more attentive, although I will be focused increasingly for a while on some theory issues rather than day-to-day events.)