Conflicting groups often insist on a final resolution to their differences instead of exploring compromise that might alleviate hostility, according to A Theory of Truces, a book by Philosophy Professor Nir Eisikovits that will be the subject of a special symposium issue of the Journal of Global Ethics.
A Theory of Truces offers scenarios from the World Wars, a 2006 Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire, ancient Greece, and more in arguing that understanding truces is crucial for efforts to wind down wars and that too much attention has been paid to the idea of permanent peace, given that few conflicts end in this way.
In this, his most recent book, Eisikovits, director of Suffolk’s Graduate Program in Ethics and Public Policy, describes how truce makers think and which truces can be morally justified, while providing a philosophical history of truce making in the Western tradition.
The special issue of the Journal of Global Ethics will include essays by Keith Breen, Philosophy, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland; David Lyons, Law and Philosophy, Boston University; Thad Metz, Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa; Colleen Murphy, Law and Philosophy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champlain; as well as a response to their essays by Eisikovits.
“The dogged pursuit of comprehensive peace settlements oftentimes puts us ‘at risk of fighting longer and harder than we have to,’” writes Breen, citing a passage from the book. “If we care about minimizing the horrors of war, we must begin to take truces seriously.”
While Breen accepts many of Eisikovits’ arguments, he writes that the author should further explore “just war theory” in his book.
In a review of the book, Margaret Urban Walker of Marquette University, writes: “Eisikovits looks at what to do in the real world when perfect ideals of peace and reconciliation may hang out of reach. Skillfully steering around the shoals of realpolitik and defeatism about peace, he shows us how 'truce thinking' can be morally principled as well as valuable in practice. … This book fills a blank between pacifism and just war thinking with a sane, humane, and morally persuasive case for containing violence when we can for as long as we can in our very imperfect circumstances.”
The book is published in Macmillan’s Palgrave Studies in Ethics and Public Policy series.