David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Most of us assume that we have a basic right not to be killed. We might not consider that to be an absolute right—since that would entail strict pacifism—but rather what philosophers call a prima facie right.2 For example, we might be said to forfeit our right not to be killed if we commit a particularly heinous crime like aggravated murder. Or we might waive that right if we suffer from a terminal illness and can’t end our own life without assistance from others. And any right that can be forfeited or waived cannot be absolute. But we’re certainly on solid ground in believing that we have to have very serious moral reasons to justify killing people. In the Western just-war tradition, war is thought to be morally acceptable if it can satisfy certain ethical and procedural criteria. But that tradition also regards war as potentially causing so much suffering, death and destruction that leaders must carefully weigh those harms against the goals they hope to achieve through war. Even if one’s country has been seriously harmed, one’s soldiers or other citizens unjustly killed by foreign powers or terrorists, leaders still face significant moral constraints under just-war criteria on what they may do in response. Having just cause to go to war, for example, does not permit one to wage total war.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Lene Bomann-Larsen (2004). Licence to Kill? The Question of Just Vs. Unjust Combatants. Journal of Military Ethics 3 (2):142-160.
Steven Metz & Phillip R. Cuccia (eds.) (2011). Defining War for the 21st Century. Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.
Uwe Steinhoff (2010). Benbaji on Killing in War and 'the War Convention'. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):616-623.
Patience Coster (2013). The Ethics of War. Rosen Central.
A. J. Coates (1997). The Ethics of War. Distributed Exclusively in the Usa by St. Martin's Press.
Jeff McMahan (2004). The Ethics of Killing in War. Ethics 114 (4):693-733.
Helmut David Baer & Joseph E. Capizzi (2005). Just War Theories Reconsidered: Problems with Prima Facie Duties and the Need for a Political Ethic. Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (1):119-137.
David L. Perry (2009). Partly Cloudy: Ethics in War, Espionage, Covert Action, and Interrogation. Scarecrow Press.
Steven Lee (2012). Ethics and War: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
Uwe Steinhoff (2009). What Is War—And Can a Lone Individual Wage One? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):133-150.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads17 ( #112,738 of 1,679,366 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,761 of 1,679,366 )
How can I increase my downloads?