Patriotism, war, and the limits of permissible partiality

Journal of Ethics 13 (4):401 - 422 (2009)
This paper examines whether patriotism and other forms of group partiality can be justified and what are the moral limits on actions performed to benefit countries and other groups. In particular, I ask whether partiality toward one’s country (or other groups) can justify attacking enemy civilians to achieve victory or other political goals. Using a rule utilitarian approach, I then (a) defend the legitimacy of “moderate” patriotic partiality but (b) argue that noncombatant immunity imposes an absolute constraint on what may be done to promote the interests of a country or other group involved in warfare or other forms of violent conflict.
Keywords Noncombatant immunity  Partiality  Patriotism  Universalism  Utilitarianism  War
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