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CAE 30th Anniversary Seminar/ Departmental Colloquium: Contingent Pacifism and International Order

24 Aug 2023
Seminar and ColloquiumCentre for Applied Ethics
24 Aug 2023
Zoom Meeting ID: 954 2157 8988; Password: 752612
Dr. Bendict S. B. Chan, Associate Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy; Director, Centre for Applied Ethics, HKBU
Dr. Baldwin Wong, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy; Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Ethics, HKBU

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In this talk, I will outline my recent research project, which aims to develop an ethical theory of contingent pacifism. This theory draws upon consequentialism and international human rights, and it is applicable to the reformation of the international order. The project is divided into three parts. The first part examines contingent pacifism, which is a new approach to the ethics of war and peace. This approach recognizes the moral significance of just war principles, but contends that most wars violate human rights and fail to meet the conditions of a just war. The second part argues that consequentialism should serve as the foundation of contingent pacifism. The consequentialism proposed by the project is closer to Amartya Sen's consequential evaluation rather than utilitarianism. This approach endorses plural consequences as intrinsic values and contends that the sum-ranking method in utilitarianism is only one type of moral reasoning that consequential contingent pacifism would endorse. The third part examines the implications of contingent pacifism for the international order. The project stresses the fundamental role of international human rights in the development of consequential contingent pacifism, and explores how they are relevant to the reformation of the international order, such as forever renouncing war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.