Essays in Philosophy 18 (2):245-263 (2017)

Abstract
In a nearly paradoxical manner, the virtue of martial courage is best understood through violent acts that are typically vicious, such as killing, maiming, and bombing. To ameliorate this worry, I make a new distinction that is dependent on whether the agent acts in accord with social norms or against them. We usually understand martial courage through social courage, where soldiers are courageous through performing violent acts that society determines are necessary. While this understanding is accurate for a just war, violence cannot be virtuous when fighting for an unjust cause. The oppositional form of martial courage involves acting contrary to social norms by refusing to fight on behalf of an unjust cause or in unjust ways. As a virtue, martial courage should include bravely renouncing and resisting unjust wars. In this way, oppositional courage provides a non-violent grounding for martial courage: while martial courage often requires violence, it also requires a vigilant readiness to refuse to be violent when justice requires oppositional courage.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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DOI 10.7710/1526-0569.1583
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References found in this work BETA

Courage in the Military: Physical and Moral.Peter Olsthoorn - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (4):270-279.
The Two Faces of Courage.Amélie Oksenberg Rorty - 1986 - Philosophy 61 (236):151-171.
Moral Courage and Facing Others.Matthew Pianalto - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (2):165-184.
Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb.Richard Avramenko - 2011 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.

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