When Is It Right to Fight? Just War Theory and the Individual-Centric Approach

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):35-54 (2013)
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability of an individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war.
Keywords Individual-centric approach  Jeff McMahan   Jus ad bellum  Just war theory  Private contractors
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9323-6
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Thomas Hurka (2005). Proportionality in the Morality of War. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34–66.

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