A Just Cause for War from the Perspective of the Founders of Confucianism

  • Michal Rigel
Keywords: just war, ius ad bellum, just cause, Confucius, Mencius, Confucianism, China


A comprehensive description of just causes for entering a war within the fundamental sources of early Confucian tradition represents the core of the article. The analysis seeks to underline the significant role of the just war theory in contemporary international politics. The article also highlights the rise of the economic, political and military power of China and emphasizes that the country has the potential to play an increasingly important role in world politics over the next few decades. Thus it is necessary to examine the way China is looking at issues of war and ethics. Since there has been evidence uncovered that Confucianism has started to gain influence in Chinese society again, it seems fully acceptable to analyse just war from a Confucian perspective. The main focus of the research is put on exploring works of the founders of Confucianism, particularly the texts of Confucius and Mencius. The analysis of these works uncovers that the main ethical principles of early Confucian teaching allow for various specific reasons for entering a war. Then in the conclusion there is a list of five different types of conflicts that can be assessed as justifiable under certain conditions in Confucian thought.

Author Biography

Michal Rigel

Born in 1985, he aquired a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Hradec Kralove and is currently a PhD candidate at the same university’s Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences. He completed his master's degree in Political Science, European Studies and International Development Studies at Palacky University in Olomouc. In the area of political philosophy he is currently engaged in researching the history of thinking about the concept of just war, at which he looks on from an intercultural perspective.