How and why are wars fought? What exactly is a just war? This program looks at the history of "just war theory," starting in antiquity and following the development of three major elements of just war thinking: jus ad bellum (the right to war), jus in bello (the laws of war), and jus post bellum (justice after war). Highlighting the work of philosophers Larry May, Michael Walzer, and Richard Norman, Kent McConnell focuses discussion on the philosophical and theological foundations of just war thinking and non-violence.
Presented by Kent McConnell
For much of his professional career, Dr. Kent A. McConnell has explored subjects related to questions of ethics and warfare. A historian of American culture in the 19th century and the American Civil War in particular, Dr. McConnell's research has examined how violence perpetrated on the human body has shaped the psychophysical experience of Americans. As the nation sought to recover from their "trial by fire," ethical questions emerged about the nature and meaning of the conflict that drew upon ancient thought, philosophy, and scientific thinking. The response of 19th-century Americans to this tragic event in their nation reveals the broad contours of just war theory that has shaped the West.