Philosophy 189: Philosophies of Peace

Fall Semester, 2017

Jacksonville University

Dr. Scott Kimbrough

Office: Council 121

Office hours: M 11:00-12:00, T 11:00-12:00, or by appointment

Office phone: 256-7118


Last updated 9/24/17

Resources and Announcements

·         9/20 Micro-theme 1

·         9/27 Micro-theme 2

·         10/2 First exam

·         10/11 First paper

·         10/18 Micro theme 3

·         10/30 Second exam

·         11/8 Micro-theme 4

·         11/15 Second paper

·         11/29 Micro-theme 5

·         12/13 Final exam 12:00-3:00

·         Links


Course Description:

Almost everyone claims to prefer peace to war, and justice to injustice. Yet war seems a constant in human history, and justice remains elusive. This course examines efforts to understand and pursue peace, while avoiding war. The first unit surveys some of the most influential theories of justice and the nature of the state in the history of philosophy. Subsequent units consider the alleged inevitability of war, spiritual traditions promoting peace, nonviolence as a political movement, the relation between power and violence, and proposals to decrease the likelihood of war.

Required Book:

David P. Barash (ed.). Approaches to Peace: A Reader in Peace Studies, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Grading policy

Course Requirements

Course objectives

Academic Dishonesty

Americans with Disabilities


This Syllabus


·         Classic texts of political philosophy

o   Plato’s Republic: a pdf of the relevant excerpts is available on Blackboard, or the whole book is available at this link  (Scroll past the introduction. Book I starts on p.26/509. Use the numbers in the margin to locate the parts of the book that we’re reading.)

o   9/11 and 9/13 class canceled for Hurricane Irma

o   9/18 Thomas Hobbes, excerpts from Leviathan (on Blackboard)

o   9/20 Baruch Spinoza, excerpts from Theologico Political Treatise (on Blackboard)

o   9/25 Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace

o   9/27 Alexander Hamilton and James Madison: excerpts from The Federalist Papers

o   10/2 First exam

·         Is war inevitable?

o   10/4

§  Chris Hedges “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (pp.18-20): the attraction of war

§  George Orwell “Review of Mein Kampf” (Blackboard)

§  Samuel P. Huntington “The Clash of Civilizations” (pp.42-48): war between west and Islam inevitable

o   10/9

§  Sigmund Freud “Why War?” (pp.9-13) Psychological drives leading to war and aggression

§  William James “The Moral Equivalent of War” (pp.70-74)

o   10/11

§  Andrew Bacevich “The Revisionist Imperative: Rethinking Twentieth Century Wars”: The American experience is that war works

§  Steven Pinker “Violence Vanquished” (pp.123-126)

o   10/16

§  Margaret Mead “Warfare is Only an Invention – Not a Biological Necessity” (pp.14-17): War is a cultural response and culture can be changed

§  Douglas P. Fry “Life Without War?” (pp.127-136)

o   10/18

§  bell hooks “Feminist Politics: Where We Stand” (206-208)

§  Aldo Leopold “The Land Ethic” (pp.163-170)

·         Spiritual perspectives

o   10/23 Christian perspectives

§  Catholic Answers “Just War Doctrine” (pp.111-115)

§  Pope Francis “Speech to the United Nations, 2015” (pp.175-181)

§  Desmond Tutu “No Future Without Forgiveness” (pp.279-284)

o   10/25 Buddhist perspectives

§  Dalai Lama “A Human Approach to Peace” (pp.269-274)

§  Masao Abe “Sovereignty Rests with Mankind” (on Blackboard)

o   10/30 Second exam

·         Nonviolence

o   11/1

§  Henry David Thoreau “Civil Disobedience” (pp.214-218)

§  Leo Tolstoy “Letter to Ernest Howard Crosby” (pp.219-223)

§  Edna St. Vincent Millay “Conscientious Objector (pp.224-5)

o   11/6

§  Albert Camus “Neither Victims Nor Executioners” (pp.225-6)

§  Mahatma Gandhi “The Gospel of Nonviolence” (pp.227-232)

o   11/8 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (pp.201-205)

·         Violence and power

o   11/13 Hannah Arendt “On Violence” (read the first 5 paragraphs of Part I and Parts II-V)

o   11/15 Joseph S. Nye, Jr. “Soft Power” (pp.245-250)

o   11/27 Terrorism

§  Noam Chomsky “The Evil Scourge of Terrorism: Reality, Construction, Remedy” (pp.140-144)

§  Eqbal Ahmad “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours” (pp.145-149)

·         Demilitarization

o   11/29

§  Chalmers Johnson “Empire vs. Democracy – Why Nemesis Is At Our Door” (pp.275-278)

§  Seymour Melman “Disarmament, Economic Conversion, and Jobs for All” (pp.96-99)

o   12/4

§  Gene Sharp “Seeking a Solution to the Problem of War” (pp.233-244)

§  David Krieger and Angela McCrackien, “Ten Nuclear Myths” (pp.87-90)

§  George P. Schultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” (pp.91-93)

·         Trans-national peace

o   12/6

§  Vijay Mehta “Reforming the UN for the 21st Century” (116-122)

§  David Barash “World Government?” (pp.285-293)


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