Moral Obligation in an Anarchic World

In Jeffery L. Nicholas (ed.), The Expanse and Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 74–83 (2021-10-12)
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Abstract

The Expanse is propelled into action when James Holden does what is morally right. In our everyday world, the prospect of spending time in jail short circuits the need for moral reflection. Not so in the anarchic world of The Expanse. This chapter uses just war theory to explore the moral obligations that exist when the political order breaks down. Philosophy helps us develop a moral language for making choices and evaluating actions. Michael Walzer accounts for the compassionate behavior by arguing that soldiers, through reflection, come to recognize the basic moral obligations that humans have toward one another. He discerns five philosophical principles that govern our judgments about “how to fight”—all of which suggest that, deep down, we don't really believe the old canard that “all's fair in love and war.”

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