Journal of Military Ethics 11 (4):2012 (2012)

Graham Parsons
United States Military Academy
Following Hugo Grotius, a distinction is developed between private and public war. It is argued that, contrary to how most contemporary critics of the moral equality of combatants construe it, the just war tradition has defended the possibility of the moral equality of combatants as an entailment of the justifiability of public war. It is shown that contemporary critics of the moral equality of combatants are denying the possibility of public war and, in most cases, offering a conception of just war as exclusively private war. The work of Jeff McMahan is used to exemplify this. Against these contemporary critics, it is argued that the reasons McMahan and others offer against the possibility of the moral equality of combatants undermine not only public war but also the possibility of fully realized and effective political authority.
Keywords public war  moral equality of combatants  Hugo Grotius  Jeff McMahan
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/15027570.2012.758403
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,791
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):339-366.
Reconnoitering Combatant Moral Equality.Roger Wertheimer - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (1):60-74.
The Ethics of Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (1):693-733.
The War Convention and the Moral Division of Labour.Yitzhak Benbaji - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):593-617.
Killing in War and Moral Equality.Stephen R. Shalom - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):495-512.
Self-Defense, Punishing Unjust Combatants and Justice in War.Steve Viner - 2010 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (3):297-319.
The Ethics of Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2004 - Ethics 114 (4):693-733.
Collectivist Defenses of the Moral Equality of Combatants.Jeff McMahan - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (1):50-59.
Defining War for the 21st Century.Steven Metz & Phillip R. Cuccia (eds.) - 2011 - Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.


Added to PP index

Total views
50 ( #204,432 of 58,749 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #150,778 of 58,749 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes