Ius ad bellum and ius in bello in Thomas More’s Utopia. Some interpretative challenges of a Twenty-first century reading
Palabras clave:Thomas More, Utopia, just war, ius ad bellum and ius in bello
While themes such as the abolition of private property, full employment, universal education, and religious freedom (among others) have received a lot of attention by critics, close reading of the theme of war in More’s Utopia has been far less common. The purpose of this article is to examine how Thomas More anticipated contemporary approaches to the doctrine of just war (ius ad bellum, the justice of going to war and ius in bello, the rules of fighting in war) in his On The Best State of a Commonwealth and on the New Island of Utopia (1518). The extent to which More’s approach to the theme of war is especially relevant for our twenty-first-century debate on this complex subject is explored, insofar as he navigates the end of an age that cherished chivalry –a ius in bello in itself- and the beginning of a realist, Machiavellian twist that presented a pragmatic, result-oriented approach to war where ends, not means, constituted the pivotal rationale. Upon close scrutiny, the Utopian military practices, including preemptive and preventive wars, not only are compatible with just war requirements but also anticipate our mainstream twenty-first-century theories and procedures in armed operations.
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