Philosophy of International Law
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleJUR-4SYSRF
Credits (ECTS)7
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Law; Rechtsfilosofie;
mr. dr. L. Peperkamp
Other course modules lecturer
mr. dr. L. Peperkamp
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
P.J. van Valkenburg
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
MSEM1  (03/09/2018 to 03/02/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
This course aims to provide a critical exploration of the ethical issues raised by contemporary war(fare) through the lens of just war theory. On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the different theoretical approaches to war.
  • Describe and explain the basic criteria of just war theory.
  • Utilize these criteria to develop and defend moral judgements of historical and contemporary cases.
  • Critically engage with contemporary debates within just war theory.
  • Form an informed opinion on the issues and approaches discussed and support it by argument.
  • Identify future directions and challenges for just war theory.

War is pure horror, causing widespread fear, suffering, destruction and a massive loss of lives. And yet, it remains an indisputable part of our world. Everyone can see the disturbing footage of today’s warzones, e.g. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine, Israel and Gaza. War is one of the main global challenges, and it raises all sorts of important and interesting questions: Is war always morally wrong? Or is it sometimes justified or even a smart thing to do? Is there a fair way to wage war? And if so, how should soldiers behave and what weapons can they use? How should the peace be rebuilt afterwards, does it involve changing unjust regimes, and who should be in charge? What defines terrorism? Can it ever be justified? And what is wrong about torture?
The past decades saw a rise in philosophical interest in the moral issues raised by war. This course provides an introduction to three major theoretical approaches to war (realism, pacifism, just war theory) and explores, in more detail, the three branches of contemporary just war theory: jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum. Subtopics of the course will include aggression and self-defense, humanitarian interventions, subsistence wars, the principle of discrimination, the moral equality of combatants, drones and automated weapons, post war obligations, regime change, criminal responsibility, terrorism, and torture.
Test information
Participation in class, small paper and (short) written exam. Before the written exam, every student has to submit a small paper. The final result of the students will be composed out of the following elements: class attendance and participation 20 %; paper 40 %; written exam 40 %.

Bachelor in Law, Bachelor in Philosophy, or equivalent degree. Students are expected to have a basic knowledge of (legal/ political) philosophy.

Contact information
Secretary: mrs. P. (Petra) van Valkenburg, Montessorilaan 10, room 03.098, tel. +31 24 3612186, e-mail: rechtsfilosofie@jur.ru.nl.
Instructor: Mr. dr. L (Lonneke) Peperkamp, Montessorilaan 10, GR 03.087, tel. +31 24 3615541, e-mail: l.peperkamp@jur.ru.nl.

Required materials
syllabus, available on internet, Blackboard and at the secretariat (GR 03.098)
The compulsory literature consist of academic articles (both primary and secondary texts) by e.g. Michael Walzer, Brian Orend, Seth Lazar, Jeff McMahan, Igor Primoratz and Henry Shue. The instructor will also use multimedia sources.

Instructional modes
Working group
Attendance MandatoryYes

No Weblectures.

Test weight40
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM1, Block MSEM1

Test weight40
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM1, Block MSEM1

Test weight20
Test typeParticipation
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM1