The ethics of killing in war

Philosophia 34 (1):693-733 (2006)
Authors
Jeff McMahan
Oxford University
Abstract
This paper argues that certain central tenets of the traditional theory of the just war cannot be correct. It then advances an alternative account grounded in the same considerations of justice that govern self-defense at the individual level. The implications of this account are unorthodox. It implies that, with few exceptions, combatants who fight for an unjust cause act impermissibly when they attack enemy combatants, and that combatants who fight in a just war may, in certain circumstances, legitimately target noncombatants who bear a significant degree of moral responsibility for a wrong, when the prevention or rectification of that wrong constitutes a just cause for war.
Keywords just war  law of war  self-defense  proportionality   jus ad bellum   jus in bello  just combatant  unjust combatant
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/422400
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,941
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Basis of Moral Liability to Defensive Killing.Jeff McMahan - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):386–405.
Killing the Innocent in Self-Defense.Michael Otsuka - 1994 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (1):74-94.
War and Self-Defense.David Rodin - 2004 - Ethics and International Affairs 18 (1):63–68.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Logical Structure of Just War Theory.Christopher Toner - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (2):81-102.
Just Cause for War.Jeff McMahan - 2005 - Ethics and International Affairs 19 (3):1–21.
Public War and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Graham Parsons - 2012 - Journal of Military Ethics 11 (4):2012.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Defining War for the 21st Century.Steven Metz & Phillip R. Cuccia (eds.) - 2011 - Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.
Self-Defense, Punishing Unjust Combatants and Justice in War.Steve Viner - 2010 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (3):297-319.
The Responsibility of Soldiers and the Ethics of Killing in War.Yitzhak Benbaji - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):558–572.
Self-Defence and the Principle of Non-Combatant Immunity.Helen Frowe - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):530-546.
The Ethics of Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2004 - Ethics 114 (4):693-733.
Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Pacifism and Moral Theory.Jeff McMahan - 2010 - Diametros 23:44-68.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
294 ( #15,020 of 2,293,860 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #138,506 of 2,293,860 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature