The 'Importance of Winning': Affect, Just War and the 'Familiarization' of Success
University of Kansas
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The primary aim of this dissertation is to engage critically a puzzling element of Just War Theory (JWT): that ethical criteria for justifying decisions to go to war have been augmented by an important prudential consideration-the probability that engaging in war will (or will not) be successful. If this is to continue to be a part of JWT, the criteria of probable success must be fleshed out. I argue that the objective indicator that the decision to go to war will be successful is lacking or misconstrued. Against the notion of success as prudential, this dissertation will show that the probability of success is not a matter of rationality or prudentiality but rather becomes essential or expected when attached to specific emotional memories, metaphors and cultural symbols; and central not secondary (as suggested in JWT) to particular war aims. This is, furthermore enabled by a recent culture of permissibility in the use of JWT and augmented by important internal and structural inconsistencies which are incompatible with conflict realities. In order to demonstrate the complicated reality of action beyond prudentiality, the dissertation employs an important and appropriate method, Weber's "ideal-types", in order to demonstrate that success in war for the United States is "affectively familiar" action, not merely prudential. The dissertation concludes by suggesting that JWT scholars must get outside of the instrumental structure itself, take a look back and examine if and how the assumptions about criteria and their placement enable this problem in the first place.
- Dissertations 
- Political Science Dissertations and Theses 
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