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Profile: Uwe Steinhoff (University of Hong Kong)
  1. Uwe Steinhoff, A Critique of David Miller’s Like Minded Group and Cooperative Practice Models of Collective Responsibility.
    Many authors writing about global justice seem to take national responsibility more or less for granted. Most of them, however, offer very little argument for their position. One of the few exceptions is David Miller. He offers two models of collective responsibility: the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model. While some authors have criticized whether these two models are applicable to nations, as Miller intends, my criticism is more radical: I argue that these two models fail as accounts (...)
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  2. Uwe Steinhoff, Drowning the Shallow Pond Analogy: A Critique of Garrett Cullity’s Attempt to Rescue It.
    Garrett Cullity concedes that saving a drowning child from a shallow pond at little cost to oneself is not actually analogous to giving money to a poverty relief organization like Oxfam. The question then arises whether this objection is fatal to Peters Singer’s argument for a duty of assistance or whether it can be saved anyway. Cullity argues that not saving the drowning child and not giving money to organizations like Oxfam are still morally analogous, that is, not giving money (...)
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  3. Uwe Steinhoff, Firth and Quong on Liability to Defensive Harm: A Critique.
    Joanna Mary Firth and Jonathan Quong argue that both an instrumental account of liability to defensive harm, according to which an aggressor can only be liable to defensive harms that are necessary to avert the threat he poses, and a purely noninstrumental account which completely jettisons the necessity condition, lead to very counterintuitive implications. To remedy this situation, they offer a “pluralist” account and base it on a distinction between “agency rights” and a “humanitarian right.” I argue, first, that this (...)
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  4. Uwe Steinhoff, Finlay on Legitimate Authority: A Critical Comment.
    Christopher J. Finlay claims “that a principle of moral or legitimate authority is necessary in just war theory for evaluating properly the justifiability of violence by non-state entities when they claim to act on behalf of the victims of rights violations and political injustice.” In particular, he argues that states, unlike non-state actors, possess what he calls “Lesser Moral Authority.” This authority allegedly enables states to invoke “the War Convention,” which in turn entitles even individual soldiers on the aggressive side (...)
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  5. Uwe Steinhoff, Justifying Defense Against Non-Responsible Threats and Justified Aggressors: The Liability Vs. The Rights-Infringement Account.
    Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack (that is, they do not have a right not to be attacked), and the justified infringement account, which claims (...)
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  6. Uwe Steinhoff, McMahan, Symmetrical Defense and the Moral Equality of Combatants.
    McMahan’s own example of a symmetrical defense case, namely his tactical bomber example, opens the door wide open for soldiers to defend their fellow-citizens (on grounds of their special obligations towards them) even if as part of this defense they target non-liable soldiers. So the soldiers on both sides would be permitted to kill each other and, given how McMahan defines “justification,” they would also be justified in doing so and hence not be liable. Thus, we arrive, against McMahan’s intentions, (...)
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  7. Uwe Steinhoff, On Renzo’s Attempt to Ground State Legitimacy in a Right to Self-Defense.
    Massimo Renzo has recently offered a theory of legitimacy that attempts to ground the state’s right to rule on the assumption that people in the state of nature pose an unjust threat to each other and can therefore, in self-defense, be forced to enter the state, that is, to become subject to its authority. I argue that depending on how “unjust threat” is interpreted in Renzo’s self-defense argument for the authority of the state, either his premise that “those who pose (...)
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  8. Uwe Steinhoff, Political Obligation and the Particularity Problem: A Note on Markie.
    P.J. Markie tries to solve the so-called particularity problem of natural duty accounts of political obligation, a problem which seems to make natural duty accounts implausible. I argue that Markie at best “dissolves” the problem: while his own natural duty account of political obligation still does not succeed in ensuring particularity, this is not an implausible but an entirely plausible implication of his account, thanks to the weakness of his concept of political obligation. The price for this, however, is that (...)
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  9. Uwe Steinhoff, Shalom on the Impermissibility of Self-Defense Against the Tactical Bomber.
    A standard example of a justified aggressor is the tactical bomber who is about to destroy an ammunitions factory in a proportionate, justified military attack, full well knowing that an innocent civilian bystander will also be killed by his attack (“collateral damage”). Intuitively it seems hard to believe that the innocent bystander threatened by the tactical bomber is morally prohibited from killing him in self-defense. Yet, Stephen R. Shalom indeed endorses such a prohibition. I shall argue that all the examples (...)
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  10. Uwe Steinhoff, To Be Killed or Not to Be Killed? On McMahan’s Failure to Draw a Line Between Combatants and Civilians.
    In a recent paper, McMahan argues that his ‘Responsibility Account’, according to which ‘the criterion of liability to attack in war is moral responsibility for an objectively unjustified threat of harm’, can meet the challenge of explaining why most combatants on the unjustified side of a war are liable to attack while most civilians (even on the unjustified side) are not. It should be added, however, that in the light of his rejection of the ‘moral equality of combatants’, McMahan would (...)
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  11. Uwe Steinhoff, Two Failed Accounts of Citizen Responsibility for State Action: On Stilz and Pasternak.
    Anna Stilz claims that citizens of democratic states bear “task responsibility” to repair unjust harms done by their states. I will argue that the only situation in which Stilz’s argument for such “task responsibility” is not redundant, given her own premises, is a situation where the state leaves it up to the citizens whether to indemnify others for the harms done by the state. I will also show that Stilz’s “authorization view” rests on an unwarranted and implausible assumption (which I (...)
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  12. Uwe Steinhoff (forthcoming). Die Begründung der Konsenstheorie. Über das fehlende Fundament der Diskursethik. Logos.
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  13. Uwe Steinhoff (2014). Just Cause and 'Right Intention'. Journal of Military Ethics 13 (1):32-48.
    I argue that the criterion of just cause is not independent of proportionality and other valid jus ad bellum criteria. One cannot know whether there is a just cause without knowing whether the other (valid) criteria (apart from ‘right intention’) are satisfied. The advantage of this account is that it is applicable to all wars, even to wars where nobody will be killed or where the enemy has not committed a rights violation but can be justifiably warred against anyway. This (...)
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  14. Uwe Steinhoff (2014). Why We Shouldn't Reject Conflicts: A Critique of Tadros. Res Publica 20 (3):315-322.
    Victor Tadros thinks the idea that in a conflict both sides may permissibly use force should (typically) be rejected. Thus, he thinks that two shipwrecked persons should not fight for the only available flotsam (which can only carry one person) but instead toss a coin, and that a bomber justifiably attacking an ammunitions factory must not be counterattacked by the innocent bystanders he endangers. I shall argue that Tadros’s claim rests on unwarranted assumptions and is also mistaken in the light (...)
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  15. Uwe Steinhoff (2013). Against Pogge's 'Cosmopolitanism'. Ratio 26 (3):329-341.
    Thomas Pogge labels the idea that each person owes each other person equal respect and concern ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ and correctly states that it is a ‘non-starter’. He offers as an allegedly more convincing cosmopolitan alternative his ‘social justice cosmopolitanism’. I shall argue that this alternative fails for pretty much the same reasons that ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ fails. In addition, I will show that Pogge's definition of cosmopolitanism is misleading, since it actually applies to ethical cosmopolitanism and not to social justice cosmopolitanism. (...)
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  16. Uwe Steinhoff (2013). Cécile Fabre: Cosmopolitan War. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  17. Uwe Steinhoff (2013). Helen Frowe’s “Practical Account of Self-Defence”: A Critique. Public Reason 5 (1):87-96.
    Helen Frowe has recently offered what she calls a “practical” account of self-defense. Her account is supposed to be practical by being subjectivist about permissibility and objectivist about liability. I shall argue here that Frowe first makes up a problem that does not exist and then fails to solve it. To wit, her claim that objectivist accounts of permissibility cannot be action-guiding is wrong; and her own account of permissibility actually retains an objectivist (in the relevant sense) element. In addition, (...)
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  18. Uwe Steinhoff (2013). On the Ethics of Torture. State University of New York Press.
    A detailed, clear, and comprehensive overview of the current philosophical debate on. The question of when, and under what circumstances, the practice of torture might be justified has received a great deal of attention in the last decade in both academia and in the popular media. Many of these discussions are, however, one-sided with other perspectives either ignored or quickly dismissed with minimal argument. In On the Ethics of Torture, Uwe Steinhoff provides a complete account of the philosophical debate surrounding (...)
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  19. Uwe Steinhoff (2013). Rodin on Self-Defense and the “Myth” of National Self-Defense: A Refutation. Philosophia 41 (4):1017-1036.
    David Rodin denies that defensive wars against unjust aggression can be justified if the unjust aggression limits itself, for example, to the annexation of territory, the robbery of resources or the restriction of political freedom, but would endanger the lives, bodily integrity or freedom from slavery of the citizens only if the unjustly attacked state (or someone else) actually resisted the aggression. I will argue that Rodin’s position is not correct. First, Rodin’s comments on the necessity condition and its relation (...)
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  20. Uwe Steinhoff (2012). Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants. Journal of Ethics 16 (4):339-366.
    According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no “moral equality of combatants.” That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war— but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the rights (...)
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  21. Uwe Steinhoff (2012). The Moral Equality of Modern Combatants and the Myth of Justified War. Theoretical and Applied Ethics 1 (4):35-44.
    In the tradition of just war theory two assumptions have been taken pretty much for granted: first, that there are quite a lot of justified wars, and second, that there is a moral inequality of combatants, that is, that combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war but not vice versa. I will argue that the first assumption is wrong and that therefore the second assumption is virtually irrelevant for reality. I will (...)
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  22. Uwe Steinhoff (2012). Unsavory Implications of a Theory of Justice and the Law of Peoples: The Denial of Human Rights and the Justification of Slavery. Philosophical Forum 43 (2):175-196.
    Many philosophers have criticized John Rawls’s Law of Peoples. However, often these criticisms take it for granted that the moral conclusions drawn in A Theory of Justice are superior to those in the former book. In my view, however, Rawls comes to many of his 'conclusions' without too many actual inferences. More precisely, my argument here is that if one takes Rawls’s premises and the assumptions made about the original position(s) seriously and does in fact think them through to their (...)
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  23. Uwe Steinhoff (2012). Why ‘We’ Are Not Harming the Global Poor: A Critique of Pogge’s Leap From State to Individual Responsibility. Public Reason 4 (1-2):119-138.
    Thomas Pogge claims “that, by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause the monumental suffering of global poverty, we are harming the global poor – or, to put it more descriptively, we are active participants in the largest, though not the gravest, crime against humanity ever committed.” In other words, he claims that by upholding certain international arrangements we are violating our strong negative duties not to harm, and not just some (perhaps much weaker) positive duties (...)
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  24. Uwe Steinhoff (2011). Killing Civilians. In Hew Strachan & Sibylle Scheipers (eds.), The Changing Character of War. Oxford University Press. 381--393.
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  25. Uwe Steinhoff (2011). The Guerrilla Strikes Back: A Comment on Yvonne Chiu. Diametros 30 (30):61-75.
    In a recent article Yvonne Chiu argues that nonuniformed combat is impermissible. However, her argument that by fighting without uniforms nonuniformed guerillas coerce civilians into participating in the armed conflict and thus into surrendering their immunity (their right not to be attacked) fails: there is no coercion, no participation, and no surrendering of immunity. Yet even if this argument of hers were correct, it would still not show that such “coercion” would amount to a rights infringement. Moreover, even if it (...)
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  26. Uwe Steinhoff (2011). Zur Ethik des Krieges Und des Terrorismus. Verlag W. Kohlhammer.
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  27. Uwe Steinhoff (2010). Benbaji on Killing in War and 'the War Convention'. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):616-623.
    Yitzhak Benbaji defends the view that soldiers on both the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’ side in a war have the same liberty right to kill one another, because soldiers have ‘tacitly accepted’ the egalitarian laws of war and thereby waived their moral rights not to be attacked. I argue that soldiers on the ‘just’ side have not accepted the egalitarian laws of war; even if they had, they would not thereby have waived their moral rights not to be attacked. Moreover, (...)
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  28. Uwe Steinhoff (2010). Civilians and Soldiers. In Igor Primoratz (ed.), Civilian Immunity in War. Oup Oxford.
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  29. Uwe Steinhoff (2010). In Defence of Guerrillas. Diametros 23:84-103.
    This article examines the moral issues of guerrilla, and counter-guerrilla, warfare. Just war theorists who have studied the phenomenon tend to claim that the guerrilla tactic of wearing civilian clothes and hiding among the civilian population is rather difficult, if at all, to reconcile with the ius in bello principle of discrimination (the principle according to which combatants have to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and may only target the former “directly”). I argue that this ever-repeated assessment is profoundly confused. (...)
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  30. Uwe Steinhoff (2009). The Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas: A Critical Introduction. OUP Oxford.
    Jürgen Habermas seeks to defend the Enlightenment and with it an ëmphatical", üncurtailed¨conception of reason against the post-modern critique of reason on the one hand, and against so-called scientism (which would include critical rationalism and the greater part of analytical philosophy) on the other. His objection to the former is that it is self-contradictory and politically defeatist; his objection to the latter is that, thanks to a standard of rationality derived from the natural sciences or from Weber's concept of purposive (...)
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  31. Uwe Steinhoff (2009). What Is War—And Can a Lone Individual Wage One? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):133-150.
    Practically all modern definitions of war rule out that individuals can wage war. They conceive of war as a certain kind of conflict between groups. In fact, many definitions even restrict the term “war” to sustained armed conflicts between states. Instead of taking such definitions as points of departure, the article starts from scratch. I first explain what an explication of the concept of “war” should achieve. I then introduce the fundamental, and frequently overlooked, distinction between war as an historical (...)
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  32. Uwe Steinhoff (2008). Carnegie Council. Ethics and International Affairs 22.
     
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  33. Uwe Steinhoff (2008). Debate: Jeff McMahan on the Moral Inequality of Combatants. Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):220–226.
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  34. Uwe Steinhoff (2008). Online Exclusive: Torture Can Be Self-Defense: A Critique of Whitley Kaufman. Ethics and International Affairs 22.
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  35. Uwe Steinhoff (2007). On the Ethics of War and Terrorism. Oxford University Press.
    In this book Uwe Steinhoff describes and explains the basic tenets of just war theory and gives a precise, succinct and highly critical account of its present status and of the most important and controversial current debates surrounding it. Rejecting certain in effect medieval assumptions of traditional just war theory and advancing a liberal outlook, Steinhoff argues that every single individual is a legitimate authority and has under certain circumstances the right to declare war on others or the state. He (...)
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  36. Uwe Steinhoff (2006). Torture — the Case for Dirty Harry and Against Alan Dershowitz. Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (3):337–353.
    Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the socalled Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self-defensive killing. of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who is culpable (...)
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  37. Uwe Steinhoff (2006). Yet Another Revised DDE? A Note on David K. Chan's DDEd. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):231 - 236.
    David K. Chan wants to save the DDE from the considerable criticism levelled against it, by making the moral distinction it refers to rest on a difference in desire instead of in intention. I argue that the revised version, too, is counter-intuitive and confuses the blameworthiness of an actor with the wrongness of the act. It also invites abuse instead of preventing it. Besides, Chan's DDE omits three of the four criteria of the traditional DDE, and it is couched in (...)
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  38. Uwe Steinhoff (2006). Yet Another Revised DDE? A Note on David K. Chan's $\Text{DDE}_{\Text{D}}$. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):231 - 236.
    David K. Chan wants to save the DDE from the considerable criticism levelled against it, by making the moral distinction it refers to rest on a difference in desire instead of in intention. I argue that the revised version, too, is counter-intuitive and confuses the blameworthiness of an actor with the wrongness of the act. It also invites abuse instead of preventing it. Besides, Chan's DDE omits three of the four criteria of the traditional DDE, and it is couched (...)
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  39. Uwe Steinhoff & Dieter Janssen (2006). A Referate uber deutschsprachige Neuerscheinungen-Moralisch korrektes Toten. Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 59 (3):274.
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  40. Uwe Steinhoff (2005). Moral Ambiguities in the Bombing of Monte Cassino. Journal of Military Ethics 4 (2):142-143.
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  41. Uwe Steinhoff (2004). How Can Terrorism Be Justified? In Igor Primoratz (ed.), Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues. Palgrave Macmillan. 97--109.
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  42. Uwe Steinhoff (2000). On the Concept, Function, Scope, and Evaluation of Justification(S). Argumentation 14 (2):79-105.
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  43. Uwe Steinhoff (1997). Truth Vs. Rorty. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):358-361.
    In his article ‘Is Truth a Goal of Enquiry?’ Rorty claims that the difference between truth and justification makes no difference to practice. His argument for this is that assessment of truth and assessment of justification are the same activity. This argument is insufficient, for the difference to practice can be found elsewhere. I shall demonstrate that, and also show in which way this difference manifests itself in utility/risk calculations in which the risk is that a certain justified belief might (...)
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  44. Uwe Steinhoff (1996). Probleme der Legitimation des demokratischen Rechtsstaats. Rechtstheorie 27:449-59.
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  45. Uwe Steinhoff (1994). Die Relativität der Gültigkeit von Begründengen. Conceptus 28 (71):239-250.
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  46. Uwe SteinhoV & Uwe Steinhoff (1993). Wahre performative Selbstwidersprüche. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 47 (2):293 - 295.
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