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Sanford Levinson, Paul Woodruff, and Joel Parker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785935

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785935.001.0001

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The Psychology of Just and Unjust Wars

The Psychology of Just and Unjust Wars

Response to Sherman

Chapter:
(p.175) 7 The Psychology of Just and Unjust Wars
Source:
Loyalty
Author(s):

Ryan K. Balot

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814785935.003.0007

This chapter comments on Nancy Sherman's essay in the previous chapter, which examined the psychic trauma associated with fighting for unjust causes. In the first half of her essay, Sherman intervenes in debates over just war theory; in the second half, she analyzes the shame and disillusionment of real soldiers. She aspires to render problematic the relation of objective evaluation to subjective experience. The implication is that just war theorists usually do not ask the most important psychological questions. Therefore, Sherman's work should refine or enlarge the traditionally limited perspectives of just war theorists. Her own sharply focused psychological account should encourage third-party observers to be more merciful or compassionate in their ethical evaluations of soldiers, particularly in military courts.

Keywords:   psychic trauma, unjust wars, just wars, just war theory, objective evaluation, subjective experience, ethical evaluations, military courts

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