Most people believe that it is sometimes morally permissible for a person to use force to defend herself or others against harm. In Defensive Killing, Helen Frowe offers a detailed exploration of when and why the use of such force is permissible. She begins by considering the use of force between individuals, investigating both the circumstances under which an attacker forfeits her right not to be harmed, and the distinct question of when it is all-things-considered permissible to use force against (...) an attacker. Frowe then extends this enquiry to war, defending the view that we should judge the ethics of killing in war by the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. She argues that this requires us to significantly revise our understanding of the moral status of non-combatants in war. Non-combatants who intentionally contribute to an unjust war forfeit their rights not to be harmed, such that they are morally liable to attack by combatants fighting a just war. (shrink)
This paper argues that public statues of persons typically express a positive evaluative attitude towards the subject. It also argues that states have duties to repudiate their own historical wrongdoing, and to condemn other people’s serious wrongdoing. Both duties are incompatible with retaining public statues of people who perpetrated serious rights violations. Hence, a person’s being a serious rights violator is a sufficient condition for a state’s having a duty to remove a public statue of that person. I argue that (...) this applies no less in the case of the ‘morally ambiguous’ wrongdoer, who both accomplishes significant goods and perpetrates serious rights violations. The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. This would provide a lesser-evil justification for keeping the statue. But it matters that the duty to remove is outweighed, rather than negated, by these consequences. Unlike when a duty is negated, one still owes something in cases of outweighing. And it especially matters that it is outweighed by the predicted consequences of wrongful behaviour by others. (shrink)
Much philosophical attention has been paid to the question of whether, and why, one may divert a runaway trolley away from where it will kill five people to where it will kill one. But little attention has been paid to whether the reasons that ground a permission to divert thereby ground a duty to divert. This paper defends the Requirement Thesis, which holds that one is, ordinarily, required to act on lesser-evil justifications for harming for the sake of others. Cases (...) in which we have lesser-evil justifications of harming for the sake of others are rescue cases. Ordinarily, an agent is under a duty to rescue unless doing so imposes too great a cost on her, or violates someone else's rights. When neither of these defeating conditions obtain, one is required to rescue even if this involves causing harm to innocent people. (shrink)
The Ethics of War and Peace is a lively introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. Focusing on the philosophical questions surrounding the ethics of modern war, Helen Frowe presents contemporary just war theory in a stimulating and accessible way. This 2nd edition includes new material on weapons and technology, and humanitarian intervention, in addition to: theories of self-defence and national defence jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum the moral status of (...) combatants the principle of non-combatant immunity and the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter uses examples and concludes with a summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading to aid student engagement, learning and revision. The glossary has been expanded to cover the full range of relevant terminology. This is the ideal textbook for students of philosophy and politics approaching this important area for the first time. (shrink)
I argue that any successful account of permissible self- defence must be action-guiding, or practical . It must be able to inform people’s deliberation about what they are permitted to do when faced with an apparent threat to their lives. I argue that this forces us to accept that a person can be permitted to use self-defence against Apparent Threats: characters whom a person reasonably, but mistakenly, believes threaten her life. I defend a hybrid account of self-defence that prioritises an (...) agent’s subjective perspective. I argue that it is sufficient to render the use of defence permissible if an agent reasonably believes that (a) she is morally innocent, and (b) if she does not kill this person, then they will kill her. I argue that the correct account of self-defence must distinguish between whether an agent is permitted to inflict harm, and whether the target is liable to bear that harm. (shrink)
When is it right to go to war? When is a war illegal? What are the rules of engagement? What should happen when a war is over? How should we view terrorism? _The Ethics of War and Peace_ is a fresh and contemporary introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. It introduces students to contemporary Just War Theory in a stimulating and engaging way, perfect for those approaching the topic for the first time. Helen Frowe (...) explains the core issues in Just War Theory, and chapter by chapter examines the recent and ongoing philosophical? debates on: theories of self defence and national defence Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, and Jus post Bellum the moral status of combatants the principle of non-combatant immunity the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter concludes with a useful summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading, to aid student learning and revision. _The Ethics of War and Peace_ is the ideal textbook for students studying philosophy, politics and international relations. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between a person's claim right not to be harmed and the duties this claim confers on others. I argue that we should reject Jonathan Quong's evidence-based account of this relationship, which holds that an agent A's possession of a claim against B is partly determined by whether it would be reasonable for A to demand B's compliance with a correlative duty. When B's evidence is that demanding compliance would not be reasonable, A cannot have a (...) claim against B. I suggest that some of the putatively problematic cases that Quong identifies can be resolved by plausibly narrowing the scope of the right not to be harmed. I also argue that Quong's view leads to implausible conclusions, and that his account of what happens to A's claim in the face of lesser-evil justifications is inconsistent with his broader view. I then defend the view that agents are required, and not merely permitted, to act on lesser-evil justifications. I further argue that A may not defend herself against the infliction of harms that are justified on lesser-evil grounds. However, she may defend herself in cases where B is only evidentially, and not objectively, justified in harming her. (shrink)
According to common-sense morality, agents can become morally connected to the wrongdoing of others, such that they incur special obligations to prevent or rectify the wrongs committed by the primary wrongdoer. We argue that, under certain conditions, voluntary and unjustified observation of another agent’s degrading wrongdoing, or of the ‘product’ of their wrongdoing, can render an agent morally liable to bear costs for the sake of the victim of the primary wrong. We develop our account with particular reference to widespread (...) modern phenomena such as so-called ‘revenge porn’, ‘up-skirting’, and the online observation of sexual assault and murder. On our account, observation is not a sui generis basis of liability. Instead, observation grounds liability in virtue of manifesting three, more general, grounds of liability. First, observation can compound a primary wrong, making that wrong more harmful for the victim. Second, observation can constitute degrading treatment of the victim. Third, in certain cases observation can enable primary wrongdoing. We conclude by discussing the conditions under which observing degrading wrongs might be morally justified. (shrink)
The reductivist view of war holds that the moral rules of killing in war can be reduced to the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. Noam Zohar objects to reductivism on the grounds that the account of individual self-defence that best supports the rules of war will inadvertently sanction terrorist killings of non-combatants. I argue that even an extended account of self-defence—that is, an account that permits killing at least some innocent people to save one's own life—can support a (...) prohibition on terrorism, provided that it distinguishes between direct and indirect threats. What such an account cannot support is the blanket immunity of non-combatants to defensive killing. If a non-combatant is morally responsible for indirectly threatening in an unjust war, she can be liable to defensive killing. However, this gives us reason to revise our account of permissible killing in war, rather than to reject the reductivist account. (shrink)
An agent A morally coerces another agent, B, when A manipulates non-epistemological facts in order that B’s moral commitments enjoin B to do what A wants B to do, and B is motivated by these commitments. It is widely argued that forced choices arising from moral coercion are morally distinct from forced choices arising from moral duress or happenstance. On these accounts, the fact of being coerced bears on what an agent may do, the voluntariness of her actions, and/or her (...) accountability for any harms that result from her actions. This paper does not provide an account of the wrongness of moral coercion. Rather, I argue that, whatever the correct account of its wrongness, the mere fact of being coerced has no bearing on what the agent may do, on the voluntariness of her action, or her accountability for any resultant harm, compared to otherwise identical cases arising from duress and happenstance. (shrink)
Adil Ahmad Haque argues that civilians who contribute to unjust lethal threats in war, but who do not directly participate in the war, are not liable to defensive killing. His argument rests on two central claims: first, that the extent of a person’s liability to defensive harm in virtue of contributing to an unjust threat is limited to the cost that she is initially required to bear in order to avoid contributing, and, second, that civilians need not bear lethal costs (...) in order to avoid indirectly contributing to unjust lethal threats. I argue that Haque’s defence of each claim fails. (shrink)
abstract Michael Otsuka claims that it is impermissible to kill innocent threats because doing so is morally equivalent to killing bystanders. I show that Otsuka's argument conflates killing as a means with treating a person herself as a means. The killing of a person can be a means only if that person is instrumental in the threat to Victim's life. A permission to kill a person as a means will not permit killing bystanders. I also defend a permission to kill (...) innocent threats against Otsuka's Trolley Cases. Otsuka depicts a person tied to an oncoming trolley as a bystander. I argue that such characters are threats whom Victim can permissibly kill. (shrink)
Adam Hosein has recently proposed that a sufficient degree of intervening agency between a person’s contribution to an unjust lethal threat and the posing of that threat can exempt the contributor from liability to defensive killing. Hosein suggests that this will exempt most civilians from liability to lethal defence even if they contribute to unjust killings. I argue that intervening agency does not bear on a person’s responsibility for a threat, and does not exempt her from liability to defensive killing.
According to Jonathan Quong’s _moral status account_ of liability to defensive harm, an agent is liable to defensive harm only when she mistakenly treats others as if their moral status is diminished (for example, as if they lack a right that they in fact possess). Quong argues that, by the lights of the moral status account, a conscientious driver (Driver) who faultlessly threatens to kill Pedestrian is not liable to defensive harm. Quong argues that Driver’s action is evidence-relative permissible, despite (...) the risks it imposes, because the general practice of prudent driving is permissible. The practice is permissible because (a) its risks do not disproportionately fall on some groups rather than others, (b) the threatened harms are incidental, and (c) the risk that driving imposes is acceptable in light of the benefits everyone derives from driving. Because the correct moral theory tells us that prudent driving is permissible, Pedestrian lacks a right that Driver refrain from driving. Hence, Driver does not, by driving, treat Pedestrian as lacking a right that Pedestrian in fact possesses. Driver is not liable to defensive force. I argue, against Quong, that cost–benefit analyses of types of risky activity cannot justify individual tokens of risk imposition. Actions that risk incidentally harming others must be justified by the prospective benefits of that token action. Hence, Driver’s imposition of risk on Pedestrian cannot be justified by the benefits of the general practice of driving. I argue that the permissibility of Driver’s imposing risk on Pedestrian via prudent driving turns on whether Driver is willing to internalise at least the foreseeable costs of that risky action. One can lack a right that a person refrain from performing a risky action whilst possessing a right not to be harmed by that risky action. Even if Pedestrian cannot reasonably demand that Driver refrain from driving, she can reasonably demand that Driver refrain from forcing her to bear the costs of his driving. (shrink)
This paper defends the Limited Use View of our duties to save. The Limited Use View holds that the duty to save is a duty to treat oneself, and perhaps one’s resources, as a means for preventing harm to others. But the duty to treat oneself as a means for the sake of others is limited. One need not treat oneself as a means when doing so is either very costly, or conflicts with one’s more stringent duties to others. This (...) provides an agent-neutral account of the duty to save. When the cost of saving passes a certain threshold, one is permitted to fail to save, and it is impermissible for others to force one to save, if doing so will force one to incur an equal or greater cost. I argue that the Limited Use View is to be preferred to agent-relative accounts of the duty to save, which hold that the limit on our duty to save is grounded in an agent-relative prerogative to weight our own interests (and those of special others) more heavily than other people’s interests. (shrink)
This article explores how agreements to preferentially save can ground an exception to the duty to minimize harm when saving. A rescuer preferentially saves if she knowingly fails to minimize harm among prospective victims, even though minimizing harm would not have imposed greater costs on the rescuer herself. Allowing rescuers to act on agreements to preferentially save is justified by the reasons we have to respect the agreements that agents form as a means of pursuing their own ends.
This paper considers the moral status of bystanders affected by medical research trials. Recent proposals advocate a very low threshold of permissible risk imposition upon bystanders that is insensitive to the prospective benefits of the trial, in part because we typically lack bystanders' consent. I argue that the correct threshold of permissible risk will be sensitive to the prospective gains of the trial. I further argue that one does not always need a person's consent to expose her to significant risks (...) of even serious harm for the sake of others. That we typically need the consent of participants is explained by the fact that trials risk harmfully using participants, which is very hard to justify without consent. Bystanders, in contrast, are harmed as a side-effect, which is easier to justify. I then consider whether the degree of risk that a trial may impose on a bystander is sensitive to whether she is a prospective beneficiary of that trial. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the widespread view that obstructors are a special sort of bystander is mistaken. Obstructors make Victim worse off by their presence, and thus are more properly described as innocent threats. Only those characters who do not make Victim worse off by their presence can be classified as bystanders.
How We Fight: Ethics in War contains ten groundbreaking essays by some of the leading philosophers of war. The essays offer new perspectives on key debates including pacifism, punitive justifications for war, the distribution of risk between combatants and non-combatants, the structure of 'just war theory', and bases of individual liability in war.
Introduction This paper defends the moral significance of the distinction between killing and letting die. In the first part of the paper, I consider and reject Michael Tooley’s argument that initiating a causal process is morally equivalent to refraining from interfering in that process. The second part disputes Tooley’s suggestion it is merely external factors that make killing appear to be worse than letting die, when in reality the distinction is morally neutral. Tooley is mistaken to claim that we are (...) permitted to kill bystanders who had no fair chance to avoid being at risk of harm. We can support the significance of the killing / letting die distinction by considering the difference between what we are permitted to do in self-defence against those who are going to kill us, and what we can do against those who are going to let us die. I also suggest that we are less responsible for the deaths we allow than for the deaths that we cause, since we do not make people worse off for our presence in cases where we fail to save them. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest, among both philosophers, legal scholars, and military experts, on the ethics of war. Due in part due to post 9/11 events, this resurgence is also due to a growing theoretical sophistication among scholars in this area. Recently there has been very influential work published on the justificaton of killing in self-defense and war, and the topic of the ethics of war is now more important than ever as a discrete field. The 28 (...) commissioned chapters in this Handbook will present a comprehensive overview of the field as well as make significant and novel contributions, and collectively they will set the terms of the debate for the next decade. Lazar and Frowe will invite the leading scholars in the field to write on topics that are new to them, making the volume a compilation of fresh ideas rather than a rehash of earlier work. The volume will be dicided into five sections: Method, History, Resort, Conduct, and Aftermath. The contributors will be a mix of junior and senior figures, and will include well known scholars like Michael Walzer, Jeff McMahan, and David Rodin. (shrink)
This article responds to objections to the account of permissible harming developed in Defensive Killing, as raised by Christian Barry, Jeff McMahan, Kimberly Ferzan, Massimo Renzo and Adil Haque. Each paper deserves much more attention than I can give it here. I focus on Barry’s important observations regarding the liability to defensive harm of those who fail to rescue. In response to McMahan, I grant some of McMahan’s objections to my rejection of the moral equivalence of threats and bystanders, but (...) reject his analysis of my Shield cases. I welcome much of Ferzan’s development of my account of ‘futile’ defence, but offer some concerns regarding her own view of when honour can be appropriately defended. I argue that Renzo’s objections to my account of bloodless invasions are unpersuasive, and identify some problems with Renzo’s own view. Finally, I defend my account of civilian liability against Adil Haque’s critique. (shrink)
The principle of non-combatant immunity holds that it is impermissible to intentionally target non-combatants in war, even if they belong to the ‘unjust side’ of a war. This principle is traditionally defended by the claim that non-combatants are materially innocent: that, unlike combatants, non-combatants do not threaten. But this view is prima facie implausible. Non-combatants often contribute to their country’s war effort. More recent defences of the PNI therefore seek to show that a non-combatant is not liable to be killed (...) even if she contributes to her country’s war effort. This... (shrink)
Collectivist accounts of the ethics of war have traditionally dominated just war theory (Kutz 2005; Walzer 1977; Zohar 1993). These state-based accounts have also heavily influenced the parts of international law pertaining to armed conflict. But over the past ten years, reductive individualism has emerged as a powerful rival to this dominant account of the ethics of war. Reductivists believe that the morality of war is reducible to the morality of ordinary life. War is not a special moral sphere with (...) its own special moral rules. Reductivists typically reject a collectivist approach to the morality of war in favor of an individualist view, according to which individuals (rather than states or other collectives) are the proper focus of moral guidance and evaluation. This view holds that the rules governing killing in war are simply the rules governing killing between individuals, most obviously the rules of self-defense and other-defense (Fabre 2009; Frowe 2014; McMahan 2009; Tadros 2014). -/- This chapter defends reductive individualism against the claim that it is unable to sanction wars of national defense that seek to protect non-vital interests. These non-vital interests include political goods such as the defense of sovereignty—that is, of political and territorial integrity. (shrink)
This chapter explores the ongoing debate in the ethics of war between the traditional collectivist accounts of war, and revisionist reductive individualist accounts. I begin by reflecting on the ethics of war as a domain of applied philosophy. I then outline the origins of the Western just war tradition, and set out the central tenets of the collectivist view: that war is an irreducibly collective enterprise that must be morally judged on its own terms. I then explain how this traditional (...) view has been challenged by reductive individualism, and consider the prospects of reductive individualism as an alternative theory of the just war. (shrink)
This collection of essays is presented as offering the first real philosophical and legal treatment of the Principle of Non-Combatant Immunity . Primoratz's own essay serves as a useful summary of some of the most influential attempts to rule in all, but only, combatants as legitimate military targets. However, this will feel like very familiar territory to those already working in Just War Theory, as will Uwe Steinhoff's essay, which surveys the same positions . Several of the essays are expositional (...) rather than analytical in nature, tracing the historical roots of the PNI. Whilst providing an undeniably interesting journey through early Just War thought, these parts of the volume might feel less than gripping to those looking for engaging philosophical argument.However, the collection is certainly not without such argument. Seamus Miller's essay offers a thorough and thought-provoking account of why certain groups of civilians should not be granted immunity from military force. Using the model of the forced …. (shrink)
The destruction of cultural heritage in war is currently attracting considerable attention. ISIS’s campaign of deliberate destruction across the Middle East was met with widespread horror and calls for some kind of international response. The United States attracted criticism for both its accidental damaging of Ancient Babylon in 2015 and its failure to protect the Mosul Museum from looters in 2003. In 2016, the International Criminal Court prosecuted its first case of the destruction of heritage as a war crime. While (...) the destruction of heritage is widely condemned, there has also been condemnation of calls to mobilize our resources for the sake of heritage protection when human beings face threats to life and limb. Such issues are both philosophically rich and personally significant to a wide range of people. And yet they have been largely neglected by academic philosophers. This book makes a substantial contribution to developing this new philosophical territory. The contributors are a mixture of internationally recognized authorities in their fields and early-career researchers working in this area. Their eleven original essays investigate a variety of philosophical and ethical issues arising from the phenomenon of heritage destruction in war, including conflicts between protecting heritage and protecting people, how we ought to respond to heritage that is damaged in war, the nature of the harm caused by such damage, and the morally appropriate treatment of sites of war and conflict that have themselves become heritage sites. (shrink)
In the third issue of the J. Paul Getty Trust Occasional Papers in Cultural Heritage Policy series, authors Helen Frowe and Derek Matravers pivot from the earlier tone of the series in discussing the appropriate response to attacks on cultural heritage with their paper, “Conflict and Cultural Heritage: A Moral Analysis of the Challenges of Heritage Protection.” While Frowe and Matravers acknowledge the importance of cultural heritage, they assert that we must more carefully consider the complex moral dimensions—the inevitable serious (...) consequences to human beings—before formulating policy to forcefully protect it. -/- A number of writers and thinkers working on the problem of preserving the world’s most treasured monuments, sites, and objects today cite what Frowe and Matravers call extrinsic and intrinsic justifications for the protection of cultural heritage. These are arguments that maintain that protecting heritage will be a key means to achieve other important goals, like the prevention of genocide, or arguments that heritage deserves to be forcefully protected for its own sake. Frowe and Matravers deconstruct both types of justifications, demonstrating a lack of clear evidence for a causal relationship between the destruction of cultural heritage and atrocities like genocide and arguing that the defense of heritage must not be treated with the same weight or urgency, or according to the same international policies, as the defense of human lives. -/- By calling for expanded theory and empirical data and the consideration of morality in the crafting of international policy vis-à-vis cultural heritage protection, Frowe and Matravers present a thoughtful critique that enriches this important series and adds to the ongoing dialogue in the field. (shrink)
Much work in the ethics of war is structured around the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. This distinction has two key roles. It distinguishes two evaluative objects—the war ‘as a whole’, and the conduct of combatants during the war—and identifies different moral principles as relevant to each. I argue that we should be sceptical of this framework. I suggest that a single set of principles determines the justness of actions that cause nonconsensual harm. If so, there (...) are no distinctive ad bellum or in bello principles. I also reject the view that whilst the justness of, for example, ad bellum proportionality rests on all the goods and harms produced by the war, the justness of combatants’ conduct in war is determined by a comparatively limited set of goods and harms in a way that supports the ad bellum–in bello distinction. (shrink)
Several states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, have recently engaged in the high-profile supporting of foreign rebel fighters, providing them with training, weapons, and financial resources. Justifications for providing this assistance usually invoke, at least in part, our obligations to prevent harm to the citizens of oppressive and violent regimes. Providing such assistance is often presented as a morally safe ‘middle ground’ between doing nothing and putting one’s own troops at risk. Yet this assistance typically enables (...) rebels to cause unjust harms, since armed uprisings almost invariably cause harm to innocent people. I argue that enabling these unjust harms can render the provision of assistance unjustified. When a state could prevent at least as much harm by using its resources in other ways, such as preventing disease, without thereby causing comparable unjust harm and without incurring a (significantly greater) supererogatory cost, the state acts unjustifiably if it nonetheless funds the rebellion. When assistors unjustifiably enable unjust harms, they are morally liable to bear costs for the sake of people who suffer those harms. This is true even if the rebels act justifiably in directly inflicting those harms. (shrink)