1st Edition

Just War Thinkers Revisited Heretics, Humanists and Radicals

Edited By Daniel Brunstetter, Cian O'Driscoll Copyright 2025
    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    384 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book comprises essays that focus on a range of thinkers that challenge the boundaries of the just war tradition.

    The ethics of war scholarship has become a rigid and highly disciplined activity, closely associated with a very particular canon of thinkers. This volume moves beyond this by presenting thinkers not typically regarded as part of that canon, but who have interesting and potentially important things to say about the ethics of war. The book presents twenty profile essays on an eclectic cast of heretics, humanists, and radicals, from Epictetus to Rosa Luxemburg to Frantz Fanon and Judith Butler. The book asks whether there is a good reason for the marginalisation of these thinkers and what ethics of war scholars might benefit from engaging with them.  Some of these thinkers engage directly with—to augment or criticise—the just war tradition, while others contribute to military thinking across the ages and push the boundaries of what was acceptable in war. Many proffer alternative moral frameworks regarding the legitimacy of political violence. The present volume thus invites scholars to reconsider the ethics of war in a way that challenges the standard delineation between just war theory, realism, and pacifism, and to reflect on how those positions might inform our own approach to these matters.

    This book will be of much interest to students of just war theory, ethics of war, war studies and International Relations.

    Introduction: Introduction: Heretics, Humanists, and Radicals Cian O'Driscoll

    1: Aristotle (384 BC–322 BC) Andree-Anne Melançon

    2: Epictetus (c. 50–c. 135 AD) Luke Armstrong

    3: Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (1490–1573) Luke Glanville and David Lupher

    4: Alonso de la Vera Cruz (1507–1584) Francisco Lobo

    5: Martin Luther (1483–1546) Valerie Morkevičius

    6: Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) Daniel R. Brunstetter

    7: John Brown (1800–1859) John Kelsay

    8: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) Alex Prichard

    9: Carlos Calvo (1824–1906) Pablo Kalmanovitz

    10: Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) Owen Worth

    11: Luigo Sturzo (1871–1959) Gregory M. Reichberg 

    12: Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) Eric Patterson

    13: G.E.M. Anscombe (1919–2001) Chris Brown

    14: Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) Gabriel Mares

    15: Alasdair MacIntyre (1929–) Anthony F. Lang Jr.

    16: Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) Juan M. Floyd-Thomas

    17: John Rawls (1921–2002) Yvonne Chiu

    18: Judith Butler (1956–) Rosemary Kellison

    19: Pope Francis (1936–) Christian N. Braun

    20: Charles W. Mills (1951–2021) Jessica Wolfendale

    Conclusion: Heretics and Humanists and Radicals, Oh My! Daniel R. Brunstetter


    Daniel R. Brunstetter is Professor in Political Science at University of California, Irvine, USA. He is author of two books and editor of two volumes, including Just War Thinkers (2018).

    Cian O’Driscoll is Professor of International Relations at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia. He is author of two books and editor of three volumes, including Just War Thinkers (2018).

    "In an exciting break with convention, Just War Thinkers Revisited replaces the usual protagonists with an unexpected ensemble of radicals, heretics and nonconformists, whose work is often pushed to the margins or neglected altogether. Engaging with these intellectual outsiders allows the contributors to the collection to revamp tired ethical debates, reinvent accepted ethical assumptions, and reimagine settled ethical concepts."

    Thomas Gregory, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Auckland, New Zealand

    "A much welcome – and delightfully lyrical – disruption of entrenched categories in the Just War tradition. The authors mobilize thinkers and ideas from a broader spectrum of political philosophy than is the norm, and in so doing, they pay heed to the ethos of thinking ethically about war. The volume is a refreshing departure from endless reinterpretations of traditional texts in the understanding that these, albeit important, can take us only so far in understanding war and violence. And it is a step forward in coming to terms with the political power of the Just War tradition itself."

    Elke Schwarz, Reader (Associate Professor) in Political Theory, Queen Mary University London