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A Just Cause for War from the Perspective of the Founders of Confucianism


A comprehensive description of just causes for entering a war within the
fundamental sources of early Confucian tradition represents the core of the
article. The analysis seeks to underline the significant role of the just war
theory in contemporary international politics. The article also highlights the
rise of the economic, political and military power of China and emphasizes
that the country has the potential to play an increasingly important role in
world politics over the next few decades. Thus it is necessary to examine
the way China is looking at issues of war and ethics. Since there has been
evidence uncovered that Confucianism has started to gain influence in
Chinese society again, it seems fully acceptable to analyse just war from a
Confucian perspective. The main focus of the research is put on exploring
works of the founders of Confucianism, particularly the texts of Confucius
and Mencius. The analysis of these works uncovers that the main ethical
principles of early Confucian teaching allow for various specific reasons for
entering a war. Then in the conclusion there is a list of five different types of
conflicts that can be assessed as justifiable under certain conditions in
Confucian thought.


just war, ius ad bellum, just cause, Confucius, Mencius, Confucianism, China

PDF Consultation (Czech)

Author Biography

Michal Rigel

Born in 1985, he aquired a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the
University of Hradec Kralove and is currently a PhD candidate at the same
university’s Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences. He completed
his master's degree in Political Science, European Studies and International
Development Studies at Palacky University in Olomouc. In the area of
political philosophy he is currently engaged in researching the history of
thinking about the concept of just war, at which he looks on from an
intercultural perspective.