THE PROBLEM OF WAR IN ETHICS
The article deals with the moral aspect of war. The writer points out the actual danger of total war and its consequences, as well as the reflection of this danger in social consciousness and in the development of the pacifistic movement. Further he emphasizes the importance of the ethical reflection relating to the phenomenon of war. This reflection has a long tradition and may be found both in philosophic and moral literature and in letters. Nowadays the social-political literature and the military one are especially rich in ethic opinions. This requires not only a further development of the mentioned reflection from definite positions, particularly from the Marxist ones, with regard to the scale and the strength of the socialist anti-war movement, but also analyses relating to the essential contents of the mentioned reflection in the course of history and in the present time.
Basing on the above, the writer distinguishes three groups of matters which may be taken into account in considerations upon the war problem in ethics. The first of them is of methodological character. The scope of this layer of considerations is to give answer to following questions: in what consists the essence of the moral evaluation of war, to what it specifically relates, what is its structure, and on what foundation it is based.
The second group of the distinguished matters refers to the history of the war problem in ethics. In this sphere the objects of discussion are principal types of the moral evaluation of war both in history of ethics and at present, their historic development. At last, discussions within the third group of matters are of axiological character and consist in the definition of attitude towards the modern war from the position of the adopted (Marxist) ethical system, in an attempt of settling the complicated moral problems connected with the menace of a total war.
Continuing his thoughts, the writer concentrates on the methodological analysis of ethical reflections relating to war and states that the moral evaluation of this phenomenon is of perplexed and “global” character. There should be taken into consideration naturally the facts preceding the war (definite political scopes and steps), the phenomenon of war itself, participation of men in war, means applied during the war, and finally its various consequences both in individual life and in the sphere of social life. In this connection, ethical reflections upon the problem of war contain also problems of social progress, patriotism, and, in our times, also that of disarmament, peaceful coexistence etc. From the definite character of moral evaluation of war result also some postulates which relate to the attitude of individuals towards war and peace, as well as towards the prevention of wars.
The ethical reflection upon the phenomenon of war is, according to the writer, rather closely related to philosophical conceptions of social world, men, and war. He expresses the opinion that to the disapproving evaluation of war the most favourable are historical and non-fatalistic conceptions of the society which admit the active influence of man upon history and consider war to be a historical phenomenon which takes place only in a specific type of social structure.
The final logical structure of the discussed ethical reflection is, according to author, as follows: The basis of the definite, extended ethical evaluation (positive or negative) of war is a more or less distinctly established theory of social phenomena, particularly those of war, as well as the knowledge of its actual forms and consequences. Its basis are also fixed general axiological assumptions and the detailed list of moral values. The moral evaluation of war, in turn, is expressed in a system of directives which relate to the behaviour of individuals with respect to the possibility of war (also their responsibility for the world), and, in the case of pacifistic ideas, in connection with collective efforts for maintaining peace.
The above discussion is considered by the author as preliminary and auxiliary with regard to the historical analysis of the discussed ethical reflection and to the direct axiological discussions upon the problem of war.