Interpretations of Conflict
Ethics, Pacifism, and the Just-War Tradition
Miller's study of the ethics of war could not be more timely.
Miller brings together the opposed traditions of pacifism and
just-war theory and puts them into a much-needed dialogue
on the ethics of war.
Beginning with the duty of nonviolence as a point of
convergence between the two rival traditions, Miller provides
an opportunity for pacifists and just-war theorists to refine
their views in a dialectical exchange over a set of ethical
and social questions. From the interface of these two long-
standing and seemingly incompatible traditions emerges a
surprisingly fruitful discussion over a common set of values,
problems, and interests: the presumption against harm, the
relation of justice and order, the ethics of civil
disobedience, the problem of self-righteousness in moral
discourse about war, the ethics of nuclear deterrence, and
the need for practical reasoning about the morality of war.
Miller pays critical attention to thinkers such as Augustine
and Thomas Aquinas, as well as to modern thinkers like H.
Richard Niebuhr, Paul Ramsey, Martin Luther King, Jr., James
Douglass, the Berrigans, William O'Brien, Michael Walzer, and
James Childress. He demonstrates how pacifism and just-war
tenets can be joined around both theoretical and practical
Interpretations of Conflict is a work of massive
scholarship and careful reasoning that should interest
philosophers, theologians, and religious ethicists alike. It
enhances our moral literacy about injury, suffering, and
killing, and offers a compelling dialectical approach to
ethics in a pluralistic society.
Richard B. Miller is assistant professor of religious
studies at Indiana University.