Dienstag, 20. Mai 2014, 09:00 - 15:00 iCal

Moralities of Warfare: The Combatant's View

International Conference, May 19-20, 2014

Alte Kapelle am Campus der Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 2.8, 1090 Wien

Tagung, Konferenz, Kongress, Symposium

Weitere Termine

Montag, 19. Mai 2014, 09:30 - 17:30

War is one of the biggest problems that humanity faces. Scientists from various fields of research have not only studied the reality of warfare, its immense costs and tragedies, but also the question of how normative perspectives relate to the reality of war. In philosophy, the inquiry of the causes and consequences of war as well as issues of avoidance and termination have reached a new theoretical level. Today, debates on the “ius ad bellum” and “ius in bello” have been completed by debates about moral criteria for human intervention, for regulations “post bellum”, and by discussing terrorism. Yet, until recently, most of the debates follow the leading paradigm of a method of evaluation which is independent of the perspective of casualties, combatants and soldiers. This “objective perspective” has recently been challenged by contributions to war theory which focus on the moral and legal status of combatants. This offers new perspectives in debating war from a normative perspective.

A comparable move has also been observed in approaches to war theory in the context of recent history and the history of religions in particular. Instead of interpreting war as an unavoidable and integral part of history, or even of human nature, warfare has been analyzed as the result of social, cultural and ecological conditions. Moreover, the exploration of personal bonds, of worldviews and of social living conditions of combatants and noncombatants contributes to new interpretations of war.

This conference brings together philosophers and historians, among them also historians of the church, in order to investigate the “moralities of warfare” from a new and recently established methodological angle. All speakers and participants are invited to contribute to a dialogue on new insights from the perspective of history and from the perspective of philosophy. It is one goal of the conference at the University of Vienna in May 2014 to deepen the exchange between two disciplines which approach war from different, yet mutually complementary angles. A second goal is the attempt to deepen insights in a rather new way of discussing war: from the perspective of persons who are involved in warfare – and often so without being in a situation of unrestricted commitment. The deep antagonism that characterizes warfare appears to be reiterated in the subjective perspectives.

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Institut für Philosophie der Universität Wien


Michaela Bartsch
Institut für Philosophie der Uni Wien
DW 46 410