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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the role of the comparative study of ethics in peacebuilding. The argument proceeds as follows. First, comparative ethics is presented primarily as a hermeneutical discipline, in which the goal is to answer the question “what is going on?” in a particular context. Second, the chapter analyzes changes in Muslim discourse about war. These point to a deep political crisis. Third, the chapter turns to an analysis of the virtues necessary for those who undertake to build peace in such a context. The example of Dag Hammerskjold serves to make the point that, among other virtues, peacebulding requires the wisdom to identify “provisional solutions”, which at times will include a judicious use of military force. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that the vocabularies of jihad, just war, and other frameworks may yet play a constructive role in the building of peace.

Keywords: comparative ethics, religious violence, peacebuilding, jihad, just war, Islam, virtues, Dag Hammarskjold, justice

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