Peace talks - 'From Sanctions to Nonviolence: Assessing the Alternatives to War'

In this Peace Talk, Prof. Pattison (University of Manchester) will consider the ethics of the alternatives to war. The central aim will be to sketch out a moral map of the main alternatives to war.

Date and time: Thursday, 25 January 2019, 4:30-6:30 pm (tea and coffee from 4:15 pm)

Venue: L66, Fielding Johnson Building (Second Floor). Campus map.

Speaker: Prof James Pattison (University of Manchester, Department of Politics

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Abstract: It is widely held that war should be eschewed and that nonviolent alternatives should be pursued. For instance, various pacifist approaches assert that war is impermissible and we should adopt nonviolent alternatives. Just War Theory asserts that war should meet the comparative principles of last resort or necessity in jus ad bellum, which highlight to some extent the moral importance of considering the alternatives to war. However, although both pacifists and Just War Theorists typically assert the need to pursue alternatives to war, there has generally been a lack of systematic ethical analysis of these alternatives. There are numerous potential measures, ranging from comprehensive economic sanctions, diplomacy, and positive incentives, to criminal prosecutions, nonviolent resistance, and arming rebels. Although the options are several, each raises tricky ethical issues. In this talk, Pattison will consider the ethics of the alternatives to war. The central aim will be to sketch out a moral map of the main alternatives to war. He will draw on central moral considerations in political philosophy to highlight the issues that the alternatives raise, and to consider if, and how, we can navigate these issues. In doing so, he will argue that the case for war is weaker and the case for many of the nalternatives is stronger than commonly thought. Professor Pattison has developed these ideas in his book The Alternatives to War: From Sanctions to Nonviolence (Oxford University Press 2018).

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