Introduction

Ethics 122 (1):8-9 (2011)
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Abstract

McMahan’s book develops each of these themes: rejection of the moral equality of soldiers, introduction and defense of his criterion of liability to lethal attack, and resistance to its unsavory implications for noncombatant immunity. The contributions to this symposium focus on the first two themes. John Gardner and Franc¸ois Tanguay-Renaud make a plea for culpability, testing McMahan’s endorsement of a thinner standard of responsibility for liability, while David Rodin’s paper explores the implications of McMahan’s novel analysis of proportionality in self defense, asking whether the proportionality metaphor can be extended even further than McMahan considers. Cheyney Ryan and Yitzhak Benbaji each argue that the intuitions underlying the moral equality of soldiers have firmer foundations than McMahan allows—Ryan aiming to develop the democratic justification for military obedience; Benbaji seeking to defend a more holistic contractarian justification of the conventional principles governing conduct in war. McMahan then offers a detailed response to his critics.

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Seth Lazar
Australian National University

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