Combatant Responsibility for Fighting in Unjust Wars

Social Philosophy Today 26:93-106 (2010)
Abstract
Just war theory has traditionally presupposed what Michael Walzer calls the moral equality of soldiers: that combatants on all sides have an equal right to kill, such that the soldier is not blameworthy for fighting for an unjust cause. The theory of moral equality has come under increasing attack by Jeff McMahan and others who argue that soldiers are responsible for killing for an unjust cause. I agree with McMahan that soldiers cannot be justified in serving injustice, such that there is no full moral equality. Moreover, the common excuses of ignorance and duress cannot exculpate many soldiers. However, I argue that when one considers the force of legal authority and the bonds of patriotism, combined with ignorance and duress, most soldiers are excused. Because of the rarity of exceptions and the consequences of holding soldiers accountable, I conclude that we should presuppose the equal blamelessness of combatants
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Social and Political Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1543-4044
DOI 10.5840/socphiltoday2010268
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,756
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Responsibility of Soldiers and the Ethics of Killing in War.Yitzhak Benbaji - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):558–572.
Reconnoitering Combatant Moral Equality.Roger Wertheimer - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (1):60-74.
Self-Defense, Punishing Unjust Combatants and Justice in War.Steve Viner - 2010 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (3):297-319.
Just and Unjust Killing.Nolen Gertz - 2008 - Journal of Military Ethics 7 (4):247-261.
Benbaji on Killing in War and 'the War Convention'.Uwe Steinhoff - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):616-623.
How to Judge Soldiers Whose Cause is Unjust.Judith Lichtenberg - 2008 - In David Rodin & Henry Shue (eds.), Just and Unjust Warriors: The Moral and Legal Status of Soldiers. Oxford University Press. pp. 112--130.
The War Convention and the Moral Division of Labour.Yitzhak Benbaji - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):593-617.
The Ethics of Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (1):693-733.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-12-02

Total downloads

24 ( #212,947 of 2,177,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #113,123 of 2,177,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums