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Uwe Steinhoff
University of Hong Kong
  1. On the Ethics of War and Terrorism.Uwe Steinhoff - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    In this book Uwe Steinhoff describes and explains the basic tenets of just war theory and gives a precise, succinct and highly critical account of its present status and of the most important and controversial current debates surrounding it. Rejecting certain in effect medieval assumptions of traditional just war theory and advancing a liberal outlook, Steinhoff argues that every single individual is a legitimate authority and has under certain circumstances the right to declare war on others or the state. He (...)
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  2. Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):339-366.
    According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no "moral equality of combatants." That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war - but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the (...)
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  3.  51
    Self-Defense, Necessity, and Punishment: A Philosophical Analysis.Uwe Steinhoff - 2020 - London and New York: Routledge.
    This book offers a philosophical analysis of the moral and legal justifications for the use of force. While the book focuses on the ethics self-defense, it also explores its relation to lesser evil justifications, public authority, the justification of punishment, and the ethics of war. Steinhoff’s account of the moral use of force covers a wide range of topics, including the nature of justification in general, the precise elements of different justifications, the logic of claim- and liberty-rights and of rights (...)
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  4. Debate: Jeff McMahan on the Moral Inequality of Combatants.Uwe Steinhoff - 2008 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):220–226.
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  5.  14
    Doing Away with “Legitimate Authority”.Uwe Steinhoff - 2020 - Journal of Military Ethics 18 (4):314-332.
    I argue in this paper that traditional just war theory did allow private, indeed even individual war, and that arguments in support of a legitimate authority criterion, let alone in support of the “priority” of this criterion, fail. I further argue that what motivates the insistence on “legitimate authority” is the assumption that doing away with this criterion will lead to chaos and anarchy. I demonstrate that the reasoning, if any, underlying this assumption is philosophically profoundly confused. The fact of (...)
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  6. Why We Shouldn’T Reject Conflicts: A Critique of Tadros.Uwe Steinhoff - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (3):315-322.
    Victor Tadros thinks the idea that in a conflict both sides may permissibly use force should (typically) be rejected. Thus, he thinks that two shipwrecked persons should not fight for the only available flotsam (which can only carry one person) but instead toss a coin, and that a bomber justifiably attacking an ammunitions factory must not be counterattacked by the innocent bystanders he endangers. I shall argue that Tadros’s claim rests on unwarranted assumptions and is also mistaken in the light (...)
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  7. The Moral Equality of Modern Combatants and the Myth of Justified War.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - Theoretical and Applied Ethics 1 (4):35-44.
    In the tradition of just war theory two assumptions have been taken pretty much for granted: first, that there are quite a lot of justified wars, and second, that there is a moral inequality of combatants, that is, that combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war but not vice versa. I will argue that the first assumption is wrong and that therefore the second assumption is virtually irrelevant for reality. I will (...)
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  8. Just Cause and 'Right Intention'.Uwe Steinhoff - 2014 - Journal of Military Ethics 13 (1):32-48.
    I argue that the criterion of just cause is not independent of proportionality and other valid jus ad bellum criteria. One cannot know whether there is a just cause without knowing whether the other (valid) criteria (apart from ‘right intention’) are satisfied. The advantage of this account is that it is applicable to all wars, even to wars where nobody will be killed or where the enemy has not committed a rights violation but can be justifiably warred against anyway. This (...)
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  9. Why "We" Are Not Harming the Global Poor: A Critique of Pogge's Leap From State to Individual Responsibility.Uwe Steinhoff - 2012 - Public Reason 4 (1-2):119-138.
    Thomas Pogge claims "that, by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause the monumental suffering of global poverty, we are harming the global poor ... or, to put it more descriptively, we are active participants in the largest, though not the gravest, crime against humanity ever committed." In other words, he claims that by upholding certain international arrangements we are violating our strong negative duties not to harm, and not just some positive duties to help. I (...)
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  10. Self-Defense as Claim Right, Liberty, and Act-Specific Agent-Relative Prerogative.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (2):193-209.
    This paper is not so much concerned with the question under which circumstances self-defense is justified, but rather with other normative features of self-defense as well as with the source of the self-defense justification. I will argue that the aggressor’s rights-forfeiture alone – and hence the liberty-right of the defender to defend himself – cannot explain the intuitively obvious fact that a prohibition on self-defense would wrong victims of attack. This can only be explained by conceiving of self-defense also as (...)
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  11. Torture — The Case for Dirty Harry and Against Alan Dershowitz.Uwe Steinhoff - 2006 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (3):337-353.
    abstract Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the so‐called Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self‐defensive killing of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who is (...)
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  12.  13
    Right Intention: A Reply to Janzen, Purves, and Jenkins.Uwe Steinhoff - 2018 - Journal of Military Ethics 17 (2-3):172-176.
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  13. Against Equal Respect and Concern, Equal Rights, and Egalitarian Impartiality.Uwe Steinhoff - 2014 - In Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth? On "Basic Equality" and Equal Respect and Concern. Oxford University Press. pp. 142-172.
    I argue that the often-heard claim that all serious present-day political philosophers subscribe to the principle of equal respect and concern or to the doctrine of equal moral status or are in some other fundamental sense egalitarians is wrong. Also wrong is the further claim that the usual methods currently used in political philosophy presuppose basic equality. I further argue that liberal egalitarianism itself is wrong. There is no universal duty “of equal respect and concern” towards every person, for one (...)
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  14. What Is War—And Can a Lone Individual Wage One?Uwe Steinhoff - 2009 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):133-150.
    Practically all modern definitions of war rule out that individuals can wage war. They conceive of war as a certain kind of conflict between groups. In fact, many definitions even restrict the term “war” to sustained armed conflicts between states. Instead of taking such definitions as points of departure, the article starts from scratch. I first explain what an explication of the concept of “war” should achieve. I then introduce the fundamental, and frequently overlooked, distinction between war as an historical (...)
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  15. Justifying Defense Against Non-Responsible Threats and Justified Aggressors: The Liability Vs. The Rights-Infringement Account.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):247-265.
    Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack, and the justified infringement account, which claims that the targets retain their right not to be attacked but may (...)
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  16. Rodin on Self-Defense and the "Myth" of National Self-Defense: A Refutation.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1017-1036.
    David Rodin denies that defensive wars against unjust aggression can be justified if the unjust aggression limits itself, for example, to the annexation of territory, the robbery of resources or the restriction of political freedom, but would endanger the lives, bodily integrity or freedom from slavery of the citizens only if the unjustly attacked state actually resisted the aggression. I will argue that Rodin's position is not correct. First, Rodin's comments on the necessity condition and its relation to an alleged (...)
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  17.  70
    Wild Goose Chase: Still No Rationales for the Doctrine of Double Effect and Related Principles.Uwe Steinhoff - 2019 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (1):1-25.
    I focus on the question as to what rationale could possibly underlie the doctrine of double effect or related principles. I first briefly review the correct critiques of the claim that people who intend some evil as a means to a good must be “guided by evil,” and that this is allegedly always wrong. I then argue that Quinn’s claim that violations of the DDE express certain negative attitudes of the agent and that agents violating the DDE must make an (...)
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  18. The Liability of Justified Attackers.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):1016-1030.
    McMahan argues that justification defeats liability to defensive attack (which would undermine the thesis of the "moral equality of combatants"). In response, I argue, first, that McMahan’s attempt to burden the contrary claim with counter-intuitive implications fails; second, that McMahan’s own position implies that the innocent civilians do not have a right of self-defense against justified attackers, which neither coheres with his description of the case (the justified bombers infringe the rights of the civilians) nor with his views about rights (...)
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  19. Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth? On "Basic Equality" and Equal Respect and Concern.Uwe Steinhoff (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    In present-day political and moral philosophy the idea that all persons are in some way moral equals is an almost universal premise, with its defenders often claiming that philosophical positions that reject the principle of equal respect and concern do not deserve to be taken seriously. This has led to relatively few attempts to clarify, or indeed justify, 'basic equality' and the principle of equal respect and concern. Such clarification and justification, however, would be direly needed. After all, the ideas, (...)
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  20.  76
    On the Ethics of Torture.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - State University of New York Press.
    A detailed, clear, and comprehensive overview of the current philosophical debate on. The question of when, and under what circumstances, the practice of torture might be justified has received a great deal of attention in the last decade in both academia and in the popular media. Many of these discussions are, however, one-sided with other perspectives either ignored or quickly dismissed with minimal argument. In On the Ethics of Torture, Uwe Steinhoff provides a complete account of the philosophical debate surrounding (...)
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  21. What Is Self-Defense?Uwe Steinhoff - 2015 - Public Affairs Quarterly 29 (4):385-402.
    In this paper, I will provide a conceptual analysis of the term self-defense and argue that in contrast to the widespread “instrumentalist” account of self-defense, self-defense need not be aimed at averting or mitigating an attack, let alone the harm threatened by it. Instead, on the definition offered here, an act token is self-defense if and only if a) it is directed against an ongoing or imminent attack, and b) the actor correctly believes that the act token is an effective (...)
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  22. Proportionality in Self-Defense.Uwe Steinhoff - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (3):263-289.
    This article considers the proportionality requirement of the self-defense justification. It first lays bare the assumptions and the logic—and often illogic—underlying very strict accounts of the proportionality requirement. It argues that accounts that try to rule out lethal self-defense against threats to property or against threats of minor assault by an appeal to the supreme value of life have counter-intuitive implications and are untenable. Furthermore, it provides arguments demonstrating that there is not necessarily a right not to be killed in (...)
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  23. Shalom on the Impermissibility of Self-Defense Against the Tactical Bomber.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    A standard example of a justified aggressor is the tactical bomber who is about to destroy an ammunitions factory in a proportionate, justified military attack, full well knowing that an innocent civilian bystander will also be killed by his attack (“collateral damage”). Intuitively it seems hard to believe that the innocent bystander threatened by the tactical bomber is morally prohibited from killing him in self-defense. Yet, Stephen R. Shalom indeed endorses such a prohibition. I shall argue that all the examples (...)
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  24. Helen Frowe’s “Practical Account of Self-Defence”: A Critique.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - Public Reason 5 (1):87-96.
    Helen Frowe has recently offered what she calls a “practical” account of self-defense. Her account is supposed to be practical by being subjectivist about permissibility and objectivist about liability. I shall argue here that Frowe first makes up a problem that does not exist and then fails to solve it. To wit, her claim that objectivist accounts of permissibility cannot be action-guiding is wrong; and her own account of permissibility actually retains an objectivist (in the relevant sense) element. In addition, (...)
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  25.  53
    Bennett, Intention and the DDE – The Sophisticated Bomber as Pseudo-Problem.Uwe Steinhoff - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):73-80.
    Arguing against the doctrine of double effect, Bennett claims that the terror bomber only intends to make his victims appear dead. An obvious reply is that he intends to make them appear dead by killing them. I argue that the alleged refutations of this reply rest on a mistaken test question to determine what an agent intends, as Bennett's own test question confirms, and that Bennett is misled by confusing metaphorical death and literal death. Moreover, Bennett's argument is half-hearted anyway, (...)
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  26.  26
    Renzo's Attempt to Ground State Legitimacy on a Right to Self‐Defence, and the Uselessness of Political Obligation.Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - Ratio Juris 29 (1):122-135.
  27. When May Soldiers Participate in War?Uwe Steinhoff - 2016 - International Theory 8 (2):262-296.
    I shall argue that in some wars both sides are (as a collective) justified, that is, they can both satisfy valid jus ad bellum requirements. Moreover, in some wars – but not in all – the individual soldiers on the unjustified side (that is, on the side without jus ad bellum) may nevertheless kill soldiers (and also civilians as a side-effect) on the justified side, even if the enemy soldiers always abide by jus in bello constraints. Traditional just war theory (...)
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  28.  32
    The Philosophy of Jürgen Habermas: A Critical Introduction.Uwe Steinhoff - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Jürgen Habermas seeks to defend the Enlightenment and with it an "emphatical", "uncurtailed" conception of reason against the post-modern critique of reason on the one hand, and against so-called scientism (which would include critical rationalism and the greater part of analytical philosophy) on the other. His objection to the former is that it is self-contradictory and politically defeatist; his objection to the latter is that, thanks to a standard of rationality derived from the natural sciences or from Weber's concept of (...)
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  29.  44
    Cécile Fabre: Cosmopolitan War. [REVIEW]Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  30. How Can Terrorism Be Justified?Uwe Steinhoff - 2004 - In Igor Primoratz (ed.), Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 97--109.
     
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  31.  28
    On the Concept, Function, Scope, and Evaluation of Justification(S).Uwe Steinhoff - 2000 - Argumentation 14 (2):79-105.
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  32.  50
    Yet Another Revised DDE? A Note on David K. Chan's DDEd.Uwe Steinhoff - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):231-236.
    David K. Chan wants to save the DDE from the considerable criticism levelled against it, by making the moral distinction it refers to rest on a difference in desire instead of in intention. I argue that the revised version, too, is counter-intuitive and confuses the blameworthiness of an actor with the wrongness of the act. It also invites abuse instead of preventing it. Besides, Chan's DDE omits three of the four criteria of the traditional DDE, and it is couched in (...)
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  33.  10
    Killing Civilians.Uwe Steinhoff - 2011 - In Hew Strachan & Sibylle Scheipers (eds.), The Changing Character of War. Oxford University Press. pp. 381--393.
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  34.  29
    Against a “Combined Liability-Lesser-Evil Justification”.Uwe Steinhoff - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (2):533-553.
    Jeff McMahan has recently proposed what he calls a “combined liability-lesser-evil justification.” Its core idea is that the fact that someone has no right against the infliction of a certain lesser harm makes it easier for the necessity or lesser evil justification to justify inflicting a greater harm on him. This idea has been taken up by authors like Saba Bazargan or Helen Frowe. I will argue that McMahan’s basic idea is implausible to begin with, leads to counter-intuitive results, and (...)
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  35. A Critique of David Miller's Like Minded Group and Cooperative Practice Models of Collective Responsibility.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Many authors writing about global justice seem to take national responsibility more or less for granted. Most of them, however, offer very little argument for their position. One of the few exceptions is David Miller. He offers two models of collective responsibility: the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model. While some authors have criticized whether these two models are applicable to nations, as Miller intends, my criticism is more radical: I argue that these two models fail as accounts (...)
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  36. Against Pogge's 'Cosmopolitanism'.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - Ratio 26 (3):329-341.
    Thomas Pogge labels the idea that each person owes each other person equal respect and concern ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ and correctly states that it is a ‘non-starter’. He offers as an allegedly more convincing cosmopolitan alternative his ‘social justice cosmopolitanism’. I shall argue that this alternative fails for pretty much the same reasons that ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ fails. In addition, I will show that Pogge's definition of cosmopolitanism is misleading, since it actually applies to ethical cosmopolitanism and not to social justice cosmopolitanism. (...)
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  37.  10
    Against Pogge's ‘Cosmopolitanism’.Uwe Steinhoff - 2013 - Ratio 26 (3):329-341.
    Thomas Pogge labels the idea that each person owes each other person equal respect and concern ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ and correctly states that it is a ‘non‐starter’. He offers as an allegedly more convincing cosmopolitan alternative his ‘social justice cosmopolitanism’. I shall argue that this alternative fails for pretty much the same reasons that ‘ethical cosmopolitanism’ fails. In addition, I will show that Pogge's definition of cosmopolitanism is misleading, since it actually applies to ethical cosmopolitanism and not to social justice cosmopolitanism. (...)
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  38. A Referate uber deutschsprachige Neuerscheinungen-Moralisch korrektes Toten.Uwe Steinhoff & Dieter Janssen - 2006 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 59 (3):274.
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  39.  22
    Border Coercion and ‘Democratic Legitimacy’: On Abizadeh’s Argument Against Current Regimes of Border Control.Uwe Steinhoff - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (2):281-292.
    Arash Abizadeh claims that ‘[a]nyone accepting the democratic theory of political legitimation domestically is thereby committed to rejecting the unilateral domestic right to control state boundaries’. He bases this conclusion on the premise that ‘to be democratically legitimate, a state’s regime of border control must result from political processes in which those subject to it—including foreigners—have a right of democratic participation’. I shall argue that this premise, even if it were correct, does not support the conclusion since ‘democratic legitimacy’ is (...)
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  40.  46
    Über die unüberwundenen Begründungsdefizite der „Kritischen Theorie“ – Von Habermas zu Forst.Uwe Steinhoff - 2015 - Zeitschrift für Kritische Sozialtheorie Und Philosophie 2 (1).
    In the first part of this paper I argue that there is hardly one correct step within the chains of arguments by which Habermas tries to substantiate his theory of communicative action, discourse ethics, and his theory of social order. In the second part of the paper I address Rainer Forst’s “principle of justification,” on which a “right to justification” is supposed to be based. I argue that Forst himself does not really justify his views but instead offers merely unwarranted (...)
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  41.  90
    Benbaji on Killing in War and 'the War Convention'.Uwe Steinhoff - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):616-623.
    Yitzhak Benbaji defends the view that soldiers on both the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’ side in a war have the same liberty right to kill one another, because soldiers have ‘tacitly accepted’ the egalitarian laws of war and thereby waived their moral rights not to be attacked. I argue that soldiers on the ‘just’ side have not accepted the egalitarian laws of war; even if they had, they would not thereby have waived their moral rights not to be attacked. Moreover, (...)
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  42. Civilians and Soldiers.Uwe Steinhoff - 2010 - In Igor Primoratz (ed.), Civilian Immunity in War. Oxford University Press.
     
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  43. Die Begründung der Konsenstheorie. Über das fehlende Fundament der Diskursethik.Uwe Steinhoff - forthcoming - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España].
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  44. Die Relativität der Gültigkeit von Begründengen.Uwe Steinhoff - 1994 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 28 (71):239-250.
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  45. Drowning the Shallow Pond Analogy: A Critique of Garrett Cullity's Attempt to Rescue It.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Garrett Cullity concedes that saving a drowning child from a shallow pond at little cost to oneself is not actually analogous to giving money to a poverty relief organization like Oxfam. The question then arises whether this objection is fatal to Peters Singer's argument for a duty of assistance or whether it can be saved anyway. Cullity argues that not saving the drowning child and not giving money to organizations like Oxfam are still morally analogous, that is, not giving money (...)
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  46. Firth and Quong on Liability to Defensive Harm: A Critique.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Joanna Mary Firth and Jonathan Quong argue that both an instrumental account of liability to defensive harm, according to which an aggressor can only be liable to defensive harms that are necessary to avert the threat he poses, and a purely noninstrumental account which completely jettisons the necessity condition, lead to very counterintuitive implications. To remedy this situation, they offer a “pluralist” account and base it on a distinction between “agency rights” and a “humanitarian right.” I argue, first, that this (...)
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  47. Finlay on Legitimate Authority: A Critical Comment.Uwe Steinhoff - manuscript
    Christopher J. Finlay claims “that a principle of moral or legitimate authority is necessary in just war theory for evaluating properly the justifiability of violence by non-state entities when they claim to act on behalf of the victims of rights violations and political injustice.” In particular, he argues that states, unlike non-state actors, possess what he calls “Lesser Moral Authority.” This authority allegedly enables states to invoke “the War Convention,” which in turn entitles even individual soldiers on the aggressive side (...)
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  48. In Defence of Guerrillas.Uwe Steinhoff - 2010 - Diametros 23:84-103.
    This article examines the moral issues of guerrilla, and counter-guerrilla, warfare. Just war theorists who have studied the phenomenon tend to claim that the guerrilla tactic of wearing civilian clothes and hiding among the civilian population is rather difficult, if at all, to reconcile with the ius in bello principle of discrimination (the principle according to which combatants have to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and may only target the former “directly”). I argue that this ever-repeated assessment is profoundly confused. (...)
     
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  49. Is There a Duty to Militarily Intervene to Stop a Genocide?Uwe Steinhoff - forthcoming - In Christian Neuhäuser & Christoph Schuck (eds.), Military Interventions: Considerations from Philosophy and Political Science.
    Is there is a moral obligation to militarily intervene in another state to stop a genocide from happening (if this can be done with proportionate force)? My answer is that under exceptional circumstances a state or even a non-state actor might have a duty to stop a genocide (for example if these actors have promised to do so), but under most circumstances there is no such obligation. To wit, “humanity,” states, collectives, and individuals do not have an obligation to make (...)
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  50. Just Cause and the Continuous Application of Jus Ad Bellum.Uwe Steinhoff - forthcoming - In Larry May May, Shannon Elizabeth Fyfe & Eric Joseph Ritter (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook on Just War Theory. Cambridge University Press.
    What one is ultimately interested in with regard to ‘just cause’ is whether a specific war, actual or potential, is justified. I call this ‘the applied question’. Answering this question requires knowing the empirical facts on the ground. However, an answer to the applied question regarding a specific war requires a prior answer to some more general questions, both descriptive and normative. These questions are: What kind of thing is a ‘just cause’ for war (an aim, an injury or wrong (...)
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