Introduction – Plausible, Norms of Warfare: Reducing the Gap Between the Normative and the Empirical
European Review of International Studies
NL : Brill Publishers
2 (December 2020)
193 - 202 p.
ethics of war, political theory, international relations, just war, social sciences, psychology
This special issue argues in favor of a new approach to the study of norms of warfare, which combines a normative analysis of ethical problems arising in war with an explanatory analysis of the use of force. Norms of warfare go as far back as Antiquity, and their study has followed a long historical path. In recent years, the ethics of war, mostly grounded in philosophy, has considerably expanded as a field. Notwithstanding such efforts to refine our normative knowledge of what should be just norms for the use of force, we argue that a more interdisciplinary approach is required to orient the study of the laws of war. In this Special Issue, proposals are made that, along with normative analysis, bring to the discussion not only disciplines such as political science and international relations, but also social theory, psychology and the neurosciences. We argue from a non-ideal perspective, that in order for norms to be just, they need to be ‘plausible’ for those who should abide by them. They also need to make sense in the context of democratic societies that favor a pluralistic debate on justice and ethics. Epistemically, we argue that, in order to understand if norms are plausible and just, reducing the gap between the normative and the empirical is required.