The ethics of killing in war

Ethics 114 (4):693-733 (2004)
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Abstract

The traditional theory of the just war comprises two sets of principles, one governing the resort to war ( jus ad bellum) and the other governing the conduct of war ( jus in bello). The two sets of principles are regarded, in Michael Walzer’s words, as “logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules.”1 Let us say that those who fight in a just war are “just combatants,” while those who fight in a war that is unjust because it lacks a just cause are “unjust combatants.” (A just cause is an aim that can contribute to the justification for war and that may permissibly be pursued by means of war.)2 The most important implication of the idea that jus in bello is independent of jus ad bellum is that..

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Jeff McMahan
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War.Seth Lazar - 2013 - Journal of Practical Ethics 1 (1):3-48.
On following orders in an unjust war.David Estlund - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (2):213–234.
More of a Cause?Carolina Sartorio - 2020 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (3):346-363.

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References found in this work

Proportionality in the Morality of War.Thomas Hurka - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34-66.
War and Self Defense.David Rodin - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Killing the Innocent in Self‐Defense.Michael Otsuka - 1994 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (1):74-94.
War and massacre.Thomas Nagel - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (2):123-144.

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