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1916 Commemoration: Frustrated with Just War Theory

April 24, 2016

Reblogging this on the secular anniversary of the “Easter” Rising.

conradbrunstrom

aquinus

This is well worth reading – “Irish Philosophy” on Just War theory and rebellion.

Just War Theory is evoked, it seems to me, in the hope that one day a computer might be able to do the moral maths for us.  What we want, perhaps, is not so much a Theory as an Algorithm – a piece of software or even a hand held device – the Aquinus 3000 or the Hutcheson 4000 – that will multiply by altruism, divide by risk etc. etc. and give a confident, unambiguous, and above all guilt-free green light to military engagement. Or, contrariwise, imagine a bunch of bellicose politicians about to announce the mother of all scraps – only to be told “Computer says no”.

The fact is, of course, that no mathematics is going to do this sort of work for us.   There are instead only two…

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