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date: 21 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of regular war, like that of just war, belongs to a long-standing intellectual tradition of conceptual articulation, legitimization, and contestation. The defining concern of this tradition has been to institutionalize juridical and conventional means of regulating and limiting the use of armed force. This chapter examines the early modern and Enlightenment accounts of Hugo Grotius, Christian Wolff, and Emer Vattel. In contrast to later legal positivist accounts, these accounts were very keen to provide ethical foundations for their eminently juridical projects. The chapter focusses on the defence of the principle of belligerent equality, which constitutes a central contrast between the regular and just war approaches. Epistemic, prudential, and security-based arguments in defence of the principle are reconstructed and their contemporary relevance assessed.

Keywords: laws of war, international law, Grotius, Vattel, regular war, belligerent equality

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