Utilitarian Contingent Pacifism and Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

Benedict S. B. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


For the role of utilitarianism in the ethics of war and peace, Shaw suggests there is a Utilitarian War Principle (UWP) and argues that the principles of the just war theory should be treated as intermediate principles that are subordinated to UWP. He also argues that the state should be the primary legitimate authority to wage war and holder of the right of national defense. I argue that the utilitarian approach should be specifically linked with contingent pacifism, a new understanding of pacifism from within the just war tradition, and the utilitarian contingent pacifism only endorses individual self-defense but not national defense. This finding is not only theoretically important but has practical implications for the debate on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Utilitarian contingent pacifism supports the idealist position that Article 9 is morally significant because it makes Japan a pioneer of the new kind of pacifism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635–657
Number of pages23
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number2
Early online date18 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
  • Contingent Pacifism
  • National Defense
  • Self-Defense
  • Utilitarianism


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