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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: MAMS 503
Course Title: Just War Philosophy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of a critical theory for military ethics. The course attempts to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable uses of armed force. As articulated in writings by ethicists, moral theologians, and others, just war theory holds that a conflict can and ought to meet the criteria of justice. Readings for the course explore when and how both actions of and actions in war ought to be restrained. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Graduate standing.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

For a historical approach, the first book below is a collection of both classic and contemporary primary sources. The second book below takes a topical approach which is also appropriate for the textbook.

The Ethics of War: Classic and Contemporary Readings
By Reichberg, et al. (Blackwell Publishing (2006))
Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrtions
By Walzer, Michael (Basic Books (1977))
Course Objectives
  • To understand the philosophical issues and problems in just war theory.
  • To be familiar with various attempts to deal with ethical issues concerning the justification for war as well as limitations on actions in war.
  • To be able to evaluate approaches to just war theory in order to formulate a personal approach that is coherent and defensible.
Measurable Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate the ability to read technical academic prose for critical understanding.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the issues and basic approaches to just war theory.
  • Formalize sophisticated philosophical arguments.
  • Analyze and provide criticisms of sophisticated philosophical arguments found in just war theory.
  • Formally present possible solutions to problems found in just war theory.
Topical Outline:

The process must include the writing of a CMS or APA paper of at least 8,000 words in length on criteria for justice as applied to a major conflict. Topics for class discussions include:

  • Pacifism
  • Realpolitick
  • "Regular" war views
  • Perpetual Peace views

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at http://www.ccis.edu/offices/library/index.asp. You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Mark Price Date: February 23, 2010
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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