Enlightenment Perspectives on War and Peace
DOI link for Enlightenment Perspectives on War and Peace
Enlightenment Perspectives on War and Peace book
This chapter argues that the European Enlightenment's apparent veneration for peace was underwritten by a much more complicated discourse on the relationship between war, peace and civilization. In celebrating the civilization of a supposed European way of war, the chapter paradoxically portrays war as an agent of peace and an essential means to uphold a potentially pacific system of states. Conventional warfare was ordered by chains of command, theoretically subject to laws and limitations, and waged by and between sovereign militaries. The eighteenth century witnessed a wide array of such conflicts both within Europe and beyond. One of the only Enlightenment luminaries to address unconventional war was Adam Ferguson. Ferguson's dilemma reverberates still in the way Western discourse on war continues to consign unconventional war to a moral netherworld outside the civilized and civilizing reach of conventional war.