Nonviolence, Peace, and Justice
A Philosophical Introduction
  • Publication Date: December 31, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551119960 / 155111996X
  • 192 pages; 6" x 9"

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Nonviolence, Peace, and Justice

A Philosophical Introduction

  • Publication Date: December 31, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551119960 / 155111996X
  • 192 pages; 6" x 9"

This book takes a philosophical approach to questions concerning violence, war, and justice in human affairs. It offers the reader a broad introduction to underlying assumptions, values, concepts, theories, and the historical contexts informing much of the current discussion worldwide regarding these morally crucial topics. It provides brief summaries and analyses of a wide range of relevant belief systems, philosophical positions, and policy problems. While not first and foremost a book of advocacy, it is clearly oriented throughout by the ethical preference for nonviolent strategies in the achievement of human ends and a belief in the viability of a socially just—and thus peaceful—human future. It also maintains a consistently skeptical stance towards the all-too-easily accepted apologies, past and present, for violence, war, and the continuation of injustice.


“I’ve been searching a long time for a text like this. Christensen has written an exceptionally clear, careful, and engaging introduction to some of the most important moral and epistemological issues that arise when we think critically about the practice of war, the pursuit of peace and—most generally—the culture of violence within which our lives are embedded. I was especially pleased to see that Christensen makes extensive use of Peace Studies, and that he spends many pages exploring the philosophical foundations of that discipline. It’s both rare and encouraging to see a philosopher grapple seriously with such challenging and fertile topics as positive peace, ahimsa (nonviolence), institutional violence, pacifism, peacebuilding and peace activism.” — Mark Vorobej, Associate Professor of Philosophy and former Director of the Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University


Chapter 1: Ethical Evaluation

  • Section 1: Relevant Situations
    Section 2: Moral Responsibility and Moral Standing
    Section 3: Relativism and Universalism
    Section 4: Guiding Moral Principles
    Section 5: Morality and Law
    Further Reading

Chapter 2: Violence, Nonviolence, and Conflict

  • Section 1: The Nature of Violence
    Section 2: The Nature of Nonviolence as a Strategy of Conflict
    Further Reading

Chapter 3: The Relevance of Human Nature

  • Section 1: The Concept of Human Nature
    Section 2: Humans as Good but Corruptible
    Section 3: Humans as Evil but Controllable
    Section 4: Humans as Inherently neither Good nor Evil, but
    Section 5: Biology and Environment
    Further Reading

Chapter 4: Life, Death, and Moral Goals: Religious and Secular Perspectives

  • Section 1: Belief Systems and Violence
    Section 2: Some Religious Views
    Section 3: Religious Fundamentalism
    Section 4: Tolstoy, Gandhi, and King
    Section 5: Some Secular Views
    Further Reading

Chapter 5: War and Peace

  • Section 1: War and Realism
    Section 2: Just War Theory
    Section 3: Pacifism
    Section 4: Negative and Positive Peace
    Further Reading

Chapter 6: The Shaping of Public Opinion

  • Section 1: Ideology, Propaganda, and Truth
    Section 2: Entertainment and Violence
    Section 3: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation
    Further Reading

Chapter 7: Concluding Hopes, Fears, and Dilemmas

  • Section 1: Our Global Community
    Section 2: Dilemmas in the Struggle for Social Justice
    Further Reading

Kit R. Christensen is Professor of Philosophy, Bemidji State University. He is the author of The Politics of Character Development: A Marxist Reappraisal of the Moral Life (Greenwood Press, 1994) and the editor of Philosophy and Choice: Selected Readings from Around the World (Mayfield Publishing Co., 1999); Second Edition, 2002 (the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.).

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