The Just War Doctrine: An Introduction


Wars have been around for at least as long as people have been civilised. They have always been both glorious and dreadful, but never avoidable. Over time, people have thought about what makes a war just or unjust.

In the last 150 years the thoughts have been turned into a doctrine. There has been a serious global effort to use the “just war doctrine” to prevent wars, limit the damage when they occur, and build a durable peace afterwards. The goal was to prevent all military conflicts, but the results have been mixed.

During this one-day course we will look at some big questions. Where did this doctrine come from? What is in it? Are the criteria for just war truly just? Do the rules of justice in combat reduce carnage? In practice what wars qualify as just? Has this actually approach helped avoid military conflict, or make wars less awful? Is pacifism better than just war?

Programme details

Registration for in-person attendees

Pre-history of just war doctrine


Criteria for just war


Debating current wars


Giving peace a chance (and another chance, and another)

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £75.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (3 courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr Edward Hadas


Edward Hadas is a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. His Human Goods, Economic Evils: A Moral Look at the Dismal Science was published in 2007. He writes regularly on economics and finance from an ethical perspective for Reuters Breakingviews.

Dr Doug Bamford


Doug Bamford teaches courses in philosophy and political economy at OUDCE. His main interest is in political philosophy and its application to public policy. He received his PhD in Political Philosophy at the University of Warwick in 2013. He is author of Rethinking Taxation (Searching Finance, 2014) and several papers (including articles in the Journal of Applied Philosophy and Moral Philosophy and Politics). He blogs at Doug Bamford's Tax Appeal.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.