Late Scholastic Just War Theory

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This chapter addresses some of the major just war questions engaged by late scholastic theologians such as Francisco de Vitoria, Gabriel Vázquez, Francisco Suárez, and Luis de Molina. The chapter starts by presenting their favored judicial model of war and then focuses on three ius ad bellum requirements: just cause, legitimate authority, and right intention. This section also discusses the positions of the late scholastics on the possibility of wars that are just on both sides, the moral equality of soldiers, and the moral gravity of the subject’s refusal to fight in his country’s morally doubtful wars. The following section explores ius in bello. It examines the principle that innocents in war are immune from direct targeting and exceptions to this principle, the moral rules governing the side-effect killing of innocents in war, and the morally permitted defensive means available to potential victims of such side-effect harms.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War
EditorsSeth Lazar, Helen Frowe
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780190460945
ISBN (Print)9780199943418
StatePublished - 2016


  • Francisco de Vitoria
  • Francisco Suárez
  • Luis de Molina
  • Gabriel Vázquez
  • late scholastics
  • jus ad bellum
  • jus in bello
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy


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