Are there just wars? The history and philosophy of bellum justum — Lecture by Costas Douzinas, Birkbeck 4 Nov 2014

Birkbeck Insitute for the Humanities

In 1914, at the beginning of WWI, Cardinals Mercier of Belgium and Billot of France had a heated argument about the sacred nature of pro patria mori. For the Belgian, a soldier who dies defending his country is assured eternal salvation. Such martyrdom is the highest form of love and cleanses a life of sin making the sinner a saint. The French Cardinal disagreed: this is to forget what god sin and forgiveness are. Forgiving sins through secular heroism is theologically indefensible. Their argument is a modern expression of a much older debate about the justice and goodness of war. This talk will offer a brief the history of bellum justum and then examine the contemporary legal, political and cultural aspects of causta justa and jus in bello. Are there any just wars today?

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
London, United Kingdom

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 from 18:30 to 20:30 (GMT)

This event is free – Book your place here

Costas Douzinas

COSTAS DOUZINAS is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, a Professor of Law and the Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. His recent books include The Meaning of Human Rights (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2014), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2013), Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe (Polity, 2013), The Idea of Communism (co-edited with Slavoj Žižek, Verso, 2012), and New Critical Legal Thinking: Law and the Political (co-edited with Matthew Stone and Illan rua Wall, Birkbeck Law Press/Routledge, 2012). Douzinas has served as an editor for Law & Critique, his books have been translated into thirteen languages, and he has written extensively for The Guardian, OpenDemocracy, and other global publications. 

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