Duke University Public Policy Expert Discusses Just War Theory in Main Hall Forum

The parameters of Just War Theory, which provides norms for constraining world leaders’ recourse to war, will be discussed in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

Allen Buchanan, professor of public policy studies and philosophy at Duke University’s Terry Stanford Institute of Public Policy, presents “Global Governance” Tuesday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Main Hall, Room 201. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Modern Just War Theory asserts war is justified only in response to an occurring or imminent unjust attack. Conversely, “preventive war” to avert a future unjust attack that is not imminent and war to establish democracy are both strictly forbidden.

In his address, Buchanan will discuss the feasibility and morality of allowing a more permissive norm within institutions designed to reduce the risks of abuse and error that have led Just War theorists to assert a blanket prohibition on preventive war and forcible democratization. He also will examine the Bush administration’s attempt to justify preventive war and forcible democratization.

A specialist in political philosophy, Buchanan is the author of six books, including 2003’s “Justice, Legitimacy and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law” in which he advocates justice, not simply peace among states, as the primary goal of the international legal system and rejects the notion that a state can conduct its foreign policies exclusively according to “national interest.”

Buchanan, who earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of North Carolina, joined the Duke faculty in 2002 after previous appointments at the universities of Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin.