Seventeenth-Century Scotism and the War Just on Both Sides

Daniel Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Can a war can be just on both sides? Within the Western just war tradition, Catholic theologians traditionally held wars on both sides to be logically impossible. This view went unchallenged until questioned by two seventeenth-century Irish Franciscan Scotists. These were Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (Hugo Cavellus) and John Punch. In this paper I lay out the Scotist theological grounds that led them to admit to the possibility of wars just on both sides. I also conjecture on possible reasons why Punch refrained from revising traditional just war theory in light of his own far-reaching theological conclusions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)643-658
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the History of Ideas
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


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