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An Enquiry

A. C. Grayling

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A renowned philosopher challenges long-held views on just wars, ethical conduct during war, why wars occur, how they alter people and societies, and more

For residents of the twenty-first century, a vision of a future without warfare is almost inconceivable. Though wars are terrible and destructive, they also seem unavoidable. In this original and deeply considered book, A. C. Grayling examines, tests, and challenges the concept of war. He proposes that a deeper, more accurate understanding of war may enable us to reduce its frequency, mitigate its horrors, and lessen the burden of its consequences.

Grayling explores the long, tragic history of war and how warfare has changed in response to technological advances. He probes much-debated theories concerning the causes of war and considers positive changes that may result from war. How might these results be achieved without violence? In a profoundly wise conclusion, the author envisions “just war theory” in new moral terms, taking into account the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust and laying down ethical principles for going to war and for conduct during war.

A. C. Grayling is master, New College of the Humanities, and supernumerary fellow, St. Anne’s College, Oxford. He is active in the field of human rights and conflict intervention and has written or edited more than thirty books. He lives in London.

“A brisk and sweeping survey.”—Mark Mazower, Financial Times

'War: An Enquiry is wide-ranging, accessible, and crammed with insights. Though it does not underestimate the obstacles to peace, it is never cheaply cynical. The result is somber, yet also inspiring.'—Russell Blackford, author of The Mystery of Moral Authority

‘In arguing that 'war is a cultural and not a genetic phenomenon', Grayling offers not only an encyclopaedic examination of war from ancient times until now, but hope that humanity might outgrow it as it has other barbaric traits. A hugely challenging and readable book in which Grayling not only challenges our assumptions about the inevitability of war as part of the human condition, but also offers grounds for hope that we might yet evolve beyond it - provided we do not exterminate ourselves first.’—John Charmley, author of Splendid Isolation?: Britain, the Balance of Power and the Origins of the First World War

‘A.C. Grayling is well known for his writings on the ethics of war, and here provides a highly original philosophical analysis of organized violence. Ranging from history, biology, psychology, and international relations to law and morality, he constantly provokes us to think about profound problems in new ways.’—Ian Morris, author of War: What is it good for?

“Exceptionally incisive on war and peace . . .  As a former professional soldier, and no stranger to conflict, I regret not having had access to [War] when it mattered.”—Milos Stankovic, Spectator
ISBN: 9780300234459
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
288 pages, 5 x 7 3/4

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