Perturbations of the soul and pains of the body: Augustine on evil suffered and done in war

Journal of Religious Ethics 36 (2):269-294 (2008)
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Many contemporary scholars debate whether war should be conceived as a relative evil or a morally neutral act. The works of Augustine may offer new ways of thinking through the categories of this debate. In an early period, Augustine develops the distinction between evil done and evil suffered. Augustine's early treatments of war locate the saint as detached sage doing only good, and immune from evil suffered. In a middle period, he develops a richer picture of the evil suffered on the occasion of the loss of historical goods but fails to develop the implications of this picture as concerns war. Finally, without abandoning emphasis on the avoidance of doing evil, Augustine comes to highlight how evil suffered in war prevents us from speaking simply of good wars. Augustine's ability to hold together senses of evil and their moral significance provides a useful avenue for new thought on this issue



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Just war and virtue: revisiting Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.Nico Vorster - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):55-68.

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References found in this work

Confessions.R. S. Augustine & Pine-Coffin - 2019 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Upheavals of Thought.Martha Nussbaum - 2001 - Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):325-341.
The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
The Confessions.Saint Augustine - 1990 - Oxford University Press UK.

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