SubjectsSubjects(version: 953)
Course, academic year 2023/2024
   Login via CAS
Make Love, Not War: A Global Care Ethic - JTM296
Title: Make Love, Not War: A Global Care Ethic
Czech title: Milujte se, neválčete: etika globální péče
Guaranteed by: Department of European Studies (23-KZS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2023
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: 15 / unknown (20)
Min. number of students: 5
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: prof. Pierre Allan
Mgr. Jan Váška, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): prof. Pierre Allan
Class: Courses for incoming students
Why is it better to make love rather than war? Because making love – in the sense of engaging in caring relationships – enriches both care givers and care receivers. Is it possible to reconcile War and Justice? What are the conditions of a Just war? While an armed humanitarian invasion may at times be needed under Just War rules, what are the pacifist alternatives? Appeals to human rights and international humanitarian law are important, but shouldn't non-violent humanitarian intervention care be developed? Such questions will be central in this course focussing on ethical principles.

Jan Palach's suicide in January 1969 shook the Czechoslovak nation. That student of Charles University burned himself on Prague's central Vaclavske Namesti protesting the Czechoslovaks passively accepting the Soviet occupation of August 1968. Elsewhere, at the same time, students around the world were shouting: "Make love, not war !" That 1960s slogan – leading towards sexual liberation and consumerism in the West while fighting the perceived unjust war in Vietnam being waged by the United States – encapsulates some of the contradictions of rising individualism. But, taken literally, it is a plea for making love, including the wider sense of engaging in caring relationships. Man and woman are understood as relational beings.

At the collective level, "make love, not war" provides for ethical rules governing international relations. That slogan also caricatures the ethical doctrine of Global Care I have developed and will teach during this semester.

Although conflicts among humans and groups such as nations and states are ubiquitous, our usual focus on wars tends to neglect the importance of non-war and cooperation, even if those situations are in fact much more common. Not only armed conflict, but moral behavior has always existed, too. Thus, elements of an international doctrine of Just War have been present and influenced humankind for a long time. Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas and other thinkers have developed principles whereby resorting to weapons to solve opposing viewpoints is acceptable but only given certain conditions. And, even if the war is a just one, not every means is allowed. More recently, humanitarian catastrophes have been considered as giving a just cause for armed intervention by outsiders.

Through a large sweep of interpreted history, we will identify a limited number of ethical principles or precepts which have been present throughout the ages. Just War theory – the oldest principle in international relations – exhibits a crucial feature: it appears as a contradiction as such, justice and war being ethical antinomies. But its nature also reminds us that purity in principles rarely obtains. Typically, a necessary moral compromise between conflicting rules has to be made. How can one achieve justice while resorting to war's inevitable ugliness? How can one escape making one's hands dirty when using weapons – even when our goals are good and pure, this as a soldier, a general, or a politician?

The same can be said of another concept, that of Just Peace. Can one really attain peace without neglecting justice, at least to some extent? Is peace in itself not much more important? What about justice, is it not betrayed in the search for peace which may require making it with unsavory political and military figures and put ugly history aside? Can power relations really be omitted when ascertaining the correct peace formula? Usually not, and compromises need to be made between these two paramount ethical goals. So, when do attempts to find a peaceful solution get to what the parties in conflict consider a Just Peace? As with Just War, rarely clear-cut solutions offer themselves in an obvious way, no single black or white formula exists, grey is the predominant color.

Morality will be central when examining the strengths and weaknesses of Human Rights, of both 'thin' and 'thick' morality, and of the limited number of truly universal norms that may be put forward in a pre-liberal age as well as in a post-liberal world. Thin ethical precepts which are universal do exist – though they always apply through a kaleidoscope of local, historic 'thick' moralities grounded within particular cultures and epochs. Ethical principles common to major religions constitute the pillars of a universal morality applicable both at the interpersonal as well as the collective level.

Feminist care ethics permits a way of integrating these various moral strands in a coherent limited or minimal ethical system, that of Global Care — which usually is local — or "Glocal". It also allows to integrate Western concerns with Eastern ones. Thus while the times of scanding "Make love, not war" opened up a further individualization of our culture, Global Care focuses on humans considered as primarily relational beings. This course shall discuss these issues and, based on my research, examine this alternative to the liberal Human Rights agenda.

Social life is characterized by dependency and power, two central relational concepts. While Human Rights advocate autonomy and equality, this ideology is fairly recent in history. In addition, the ideals it refers to made little sense in earlier epochs and are often violated nowadays. An International Relations ethic can nevertheless be put forward in the form of a few principles based on old moral norms which have been present for centuries.

I shall argue that a Global Care ethic, based on contemporary feminist theory and religious moral consensus — privileging needs rather than rights, concrete social relations rather than abstract principles of justice — is morally superior to a purely rights based approach.
My pragmatic argument: it is better to try to improve the world somewhat, by taking stock of historical rules for acting realistically well (a 'realist' perspective), rather than defining an ideal towards which everyone should then strive (an 'idealist' view). The central ethical themes which shall be developed are :
— Just War doctrine
— Moral theories
— Global Care
— Just Peace as an exemplification of a good ethic
— Human Rights, 'thin' and 'thick' morality, justice, and universal norms
— Truth and morality (ambiguity & ambivalence of moral norms and values, personal vs. nation-state morality, true facts vs. 'fake news')

Last update: Váška Jan, Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2024)
Aim of the course

Students will become familiar with concepts and theories helping them to develop their own thoughts about the realities, challenges, and impediments of international morality. They will be encouraged to think deeper about their personal moral ideals and critically evaluate philosophers' thoughts. They will learn how some of these thinkers themselves applied their ethical ideals and what their stories tell us about the nature of moral reasoning and that of ethical behavior.

Last update: Váška Jan, Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2024)
Course completion requirements

Student work evaluation

Class attendance and participation: attendance is mandatory, with one unexcused absence tolerated. Questions, criticisms, and class discussions will be encouraged. Evaluation: 25% of final grade (25 points maximum).

Final exam (75 points maximum): oral exam with all documents allowed, given on Friday 10 May 2024, between 9:00 until 13.00 if not beyond, depending on students’ wishes and logistical imperatives (to be discussed). The form of the exam is a 15 minute individual oral exam with 15 minutes of individual preparation just before; students will be allowed to consult their course documents (course slides, required readings, personal notes. including on their personal computers)

Grades: 100 points maximum. A: 100-91 points; B: 90-81 points; C: 80-71 points; D: 70-61 points; E: 60-51 points; F: 50-0 points.

More in SMĚRNICE S_SO_002: Organizace zkouškových termínů, kontrol studia a užívání klasifikace A–F na FSV UK.

Last update: Lochmanová Sára, Bc. (31.01.2024)

Required readings (NB: one or two short supplementary readings may be given out during the semester)

Pierre Allan (2006, 2008), "Measuring International Ethics: A Moral Scale of War, Peace, Justice, and Global Care," in Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller (eds.), What is a Just Peace ?, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 90-129.

Stephen T. Asma (2013), Against Fairness, Chicago: Chicago University Press, (Chapter 1 “Even Jesus Had a Favorite”, pp. 1-20/notes 171-3; Chapter 5 “The Circle of Favors: Global Perspectives”, pp. 99-114/notes 187-90; Chapter 7 “Because You're Mine, I Walk the Line”, pp. 151-170/notes 193-6).

Michael W. Doyle (2006), "One World, Many Peoples: International Justice in John Rawls's The Law Of Peoples," Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 4/No. 1, pp. 109-120.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1938), "If I were a Czech", in Harijan, October 15.

Carol Gilligan (1982, 1993), In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Womens Development, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 24-45, 62-3, 100-5.

Virginia Held (2006), The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global, Oxford: Oxford University Press, (Chapter 10: "Care and Justice in the Global Context", pp. 91-113/notes 188-190).

Thomas Hobbes (1651), Leviathan, New York: Norton, 1997 (chapter 13: "Of the Natural Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery", pp. 68-72.)

Immanuel Kant (1795), On Perpetual Peace, extracts (pp. 11-24 & 29-33.)

Hans Küng (1997), A Global Ethic for Global Politics and Economics, London: SCM Press, (Chapter 4: "A Global Ethic as a Foundation for Global Society", pp. 91-113.)

Chenyang Li (1994), "The Confucian Concept of Jen and the Feminist Ethics of Care: A Comparative Study", Hypathia, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 70-89.

John Rawls (1999), The Law of Peoples, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, (Chapter 9.3 "Kazanistan: A Decent Hierarchical People", pp. 75-8.)

Thucydides (431 BC), The Peloponnesian War, extracts (Pericles' funeral oration & Melian dialogue, 9 pp.)

Michael Walzer (1994), Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, (Chapter 1: "Moral Minimalism", pp. 1-19; Chapter 4: "Justice and Tribalism: Minimal Morality In International Politics", pp. 63-83.)

Michael Walzer (2022), « Our Ukraine »,  Dissent Magazine, March 2nd, 2022.

Max Weber (1919), "Politics as a Vocation", in The Vocation Lectures, Indianapolis: IN: Hackett Publishing Co., pp. 22-end.

Last update: Váška Jan, Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2024)
Teaching methods

Lectures + discussions based on reading and presentations 

Last update: Váška Jan, Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2024)

Block Master’s (& advanced Bachelor’s)

seminar course (JTM296, 6 ECTS), Summer 2024 semester

in Jinonice at the Faculty of Social Sciences FSV

The schedulling was last updated on Thirsday 15 February 2024 at 13:30 

Six teaching sessions, always on Fridays from 11:00 to 13:50

1. Friday February 23rd, 2024

2. Friday March 15th, 2024

3. Friday March 22nd, 2024

4. Friday April 19th, 2024

5. Friday April 26th, 2024

6. Friday May 3rd, 2024

Oral exam date: Friday May 10th, 2024 (precise schedule to be fixed according to students’ preferences and logistical imperatives)


Teaching Assistance: Ms. Amanda Baxová (; all communications should go through her.

Last update: Váška Jan, Mgr., Ph.D. (20.02.2024)
Charles University | Information system of Charles University |