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Natural Law as a Language for the Ethics of War

James T. Johnson
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall, 1975), pp. 217-242
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40014896
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Natural Law as a Language for the Ethics of War
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Abstract

To assess the utility of appeals to natural law as a way of projecting ethical claims across ideological and cultural boundaries, three examples of such appeals in just war theory are critically analyzed and evaluated: those of contemporary international lawyers Myres McDougal and Florentino Feliciano, theological ethicist Paul Ramsey, and Franciscus de Victoria, a sixteenth-century Spanish theorist whose recasting of Christian just war thought gave rise to secular international law. The conclusion is that natural-law appeals today can no longer depend on their own self-evidence, but must be attempts to uncover commonality as to what is natural.

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