Varieties of statecraft and warfare ethics in early China: An overview

Ping Cheung Lo

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter focuses on the ethical dimension of the 'art of war' corpus. Textual analysis is based on a careful exegesis of the texts in Chinese and an analysis of the moral concerns of these 'art of war' writings in their own terms and in their civilizational contexts. The recovery of ancient Chinese just war ethics can also enrich the global moral discourse on war and peace, and hopefully provide one more step towards finding and formulating 'a cross-cultural consensus on rules of war'. The chapter explains that there is a solid foundation for a cross-cultural discourse on just war between China and the Western world in particular, and the whole world in general. It examines the extent to which ancient just war ethics has influenced contemporary Chinese military thought. There are rich just war ideas in The Seven Military Classics, though they have never been subsequently developed and articulated in a systematic manner analogous to Aquinas's Summa Theologiae.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Just War Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationOrigin, Development, and Dissent
EditorsPing Cheung Lo, Sumner B. Twiss
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781317580966, 9781315740706
ISBN (Print)9781138824355, 9781138729216
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2015

Publication series

NameWar, conflict and ethics

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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