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Social Theory and Practice

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published on January 24, 2018

Lee-Ann Chae
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201811929

Pacific Resistance
A Moral Alternative to Defensive War

It is widely believed that some wars are just, and that the paradigm case of a just war is a defensive war. A familiar strategy used to justify defensive war is to infer its permissibility from the case of self-defensive killing. I show, however, that the permission to defend oneself does not justify killing, but instead calls for nonviolent resistance. I conclude that on the account of self-defense I develop, the appropriate way to respond to a war of aggression is not by prosecuting a defensive war, but by engaging in a form of nonviolence I call pacific resistance.

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