Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Chinese Just War Ethics

Origin, Development, and Dissent, 1st Edition

Edited by Ping-Cheung Lo, Sumner B Twiss


320 pages

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This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of warfare ethics in early China as well as its subsequent development.

Chinese attitudes toward war are rich and nuanced, ranging across amoral realism, defensive just war, humanitarian intervention, and mournful skepticism. Covering the five major intellectual traditions in the "golden age" of Chinese civilization: Confucian, Daoist, Mohist, Legalist, and Military Strategy schools, the book’s chapters immerse readers in the proper historical contexts, examine the moral concerns in the classical texts on their own terms, reframe those concerns in contemporary ethical idioms, and forge a critical dialogue between the past and the present. The volume develops fresh moral interpretations of classical texts such as The Art of War, Mencius, Xunzi, Mozi, and the Daodejing and discusses famous philosophers such as Han Fei and Wang Yang-ming, representing antithetical schools of thought about warfare. Attention is also given to the military ethics of the People’s Liberation Army, examining its thinking against the backdrop of its own civilizational context.

This book will be of much interest to students of just war theory, Chinese politics, ethics, and philosophy, military studies, and International Relations in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Varieties of Statecraft and Warfare Ethics in Early China: An Overview, Ping-cheung Lo Part I: The Military Tradition 2. The Art of War Corpus and Chinese Just War Ethics Past and Present, Ping-cheung Lo 3. Warfare Ethics in Sunzi’s Art of War? Historical Controversies and Contemporary Perspectives, Ping-cheung Lo Part II: The Confucian Tradition 4. The Classical Confucian Position on the Legitimate Use of Military Force, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan 5. Classical Confucianism, Punitive Expeditions, and Humanitarian Intervention, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan 6. Xunzi’s Moral Analysis of War and Some of Its Contemporary Implications, Aaron Stalnaker 7. Wang Yang-ming's Ethics of War, Sumner B. Twiss & Jonathan K. L. Chan Part III: The Daoist and Legalist Traditions 8. "Weapons Are Nothing but Ominous Instruments": The Daodejing’s View on War and Peace, Ellen Y. Zhang 9. Zheng (Punitive Expeditions) as Zheng (Corrective Actions): A Daoist Challenge to Punitive Expeditions, Ellen Y. Zhang 10. Mohist Arguments on War, Hui-chieh Loy 11. Legalism and Offensive Realism in the Chinese Court Debate on Defending National Security 81 BCE, , Ping-cheung. Lo

About the Editors

Ping-cheung Lo is Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is the author or editor of fifteen books.

Sumner B. Twiss is Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion at Florida State University, USA, and author or editor of seven books.

About the Series

War, Conflict and Ethics

Ethical judgments are relevant to all phases of protracted violent conflict and inter-state war. Before, during, and after the tumult, martial forces are guided, in part, by their sense of morality for assessing whether an action is (morally) right or wrong, an event has good and/or bad consequences, and an individual (or group) is inherently virtuous or evil. This new book series focuses on the morality of decisions by military and political leaders to engage in violence and the normative underpinnings of military strategy and tactics in the prosecution of the war.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / China
HISTORY / Military / General
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security