POL8040 : War, Terrorism and Peace: Ethical Perspectives

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module examines the ethical dimensions of war, terrorism and peace, with particular reference to the conflicts of our own time. It examines how long-standing ideas of ‘just war’ theory apply to those conflicts, but also investigates new thinking on the terrorism, humanitarian intervention and the achievement of peace in an era when conflict and warfare have assumed new forms.

The aims of this module are:

1. To examine the ethical dimensions of war, terrorism and peace
2. To relate those dimensions and the debates that surround them to conflict and peace in the contemporary world
3. To acquaint students with the most important literature on ethical perspectives on war, terrorism and peace
4. To develop students' ability to think cogently, critically and rigorously, with particular reference to issues of war, terrorism and peace

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Introduction: approaches to morality and international affairs

2. Realism and the ethics of international politics

3. Just war theory i: When can a state resort to war?

4. Just war theory ii: How may states wage war?

5. Contemporary challenges for just war theory

6. The ethics of terrorism

7. The ethics of a war on terror

8. Humanitarian intervention and state sovereignty

9. Democracy and peace

10. Institutions of peace

11. Beyond peace? Justice and cosmopolitan institutions

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1178:00178:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A seminar format will be used so that students can
•       give their own presentations on aspects of each major subject heading
•       engage in critical discussion which is an essential part of this discipline
•       receive instruction, guidance, advice and help in identifying issues and critical questions from the seminar leader.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper2M100Research project of 4000 Words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This mode of assessment will test students’ ability
•       to address a major question in the study of war, terror and peace
•       to draw upon and to engage critically with the relevant literature
•       to show analytical rigour in their use of concepts and their examination of theories and arguments

Reading Lists