A Kantian Defense of Remedial Wars

Alon Harel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter discusses how Ripstein differentiates among three types of wars: Self-defense, remedial, and punitive. Harel then argues that Ripstein’s reasons for rejecting a right to remedial wars fail. The underlying Kantian principles guiding Ripstein’s own account dictate that remedial wars are permissible. There are very powerful consequentialist, intuitionist, and conventionalist arguments against recognizing a right to remedial wars. But the logic provided by Ripstein’s account of Kant cannot justify the prohibition on such wars. Precisely as the right to conduct defensive wars follows inevitably from our understanding of states as independent of each other, the right to conduct remedial wars follows from this very same principle. Harel argues that punitive and remedial wars are fundamentally different and that while Ripstein’s counterargument addresses successfully the case of punitive wars, it fails to address the case of remedial wars.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Public Uses of Coercion and Force
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Constitutionalism to War
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780197519103
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2021. All rights reserved.


  • Constitutional law
  • Punitive
  • Remedial
  • Ripstein
  • War


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