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Against Political EqualityThe Confucian Case$
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Tongdong Bai

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195995

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195995.001.0001

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Humane Responsibility Overrides Sovereignty

Humane Responsibility Overrides Sovereignty

A Confucian Theory of Just War

Chapter:
(p.214) 8 Humane Responsibility Overrides Sovereignty
Source:
Against Political Equality
Author(s):

Tongdong Bai

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691195995.003.0008

This chapter turns to international conflicts and interventions. It details early Confucian discussions on these issues, including “theories of just war.” The chapter also addresses the question of whether “justice” and “just war” are applicable to the discussions in the Analects and the Mencius, because these terms were originally from Western philosophy and political theories. There are different understandings of these terms even within Western philosophy. In spite of the differences, however, there is a common use of these terms: when a war is called “just,” it means that it is good, right, and proper, and follows at least some moral rules. The differences among philosophers are about how they understand the Good, the right, or the moral. In the broad sense of the term “just war,” clearly, both Confucius and Mencius considered some wars just and some not. It is legitimate, then, to discuss just war theories in early Confucian thought.

Keywords:   international conflicts, international interventions, just war, just war theories, isolationism, human rights

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