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Article: Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants

TitleRights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants
Authors
KeywordsJust cause
Liability to attack
McMahan, Jeff
Moral equality of combatants
Rights
Thomson, Judith Jarvis
War
Issue Date2012
PublisherSpringer Verlag Dordrecht. The Journal's web site is located at http://springerlink.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=journal&issn=1382-4554
Citation
Journal Of Ethics, 2012, v. 16 n. 4, p. 339-366 How to Cite?
AbstractAccording 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 rights of innocent people ("collateral damage"), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. © 2012 The Author(s).
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/147109
ISSN
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.859
References

Christie, George C. 1999. The defense of necessity considered from the legal and moral points of view. Duke Law Journal 48: 975–1042. doi: 10.2307/1373089

Forde, Steven. 1998. Grotius on ethics and war. The American Political Science Review 92: 639–648. doi: 10.2307/2585486

Kutz, Christopher. 2000. Complicity: Ethics and law for a collective age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511663758

Lazar, Seth. 2009. Responsibility, risk, and killing in self-defense. Ethics 119: 699–728. doi: 10.1086/605727

Lazar, Seth. 2010. The responsibility dilemma for killing in war: A review essay. Philosophy & Public Affairs 38: 180–213. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2010.01182.x

Mapel, David R. 2009. Moral liability to defensive killing and symmetrical self-defense. The Journal of Political Philosophy 18: 198–217. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2009.00340.x

McMahan, Jeff. 1994a. Self-defense and the problem of the innocent attacker. Ethics 104: 252–290. doi: 10.1086/293600

McMahan, Jeff. 1994b. Innocence, self-defense, and killing in war. The Journal of Political Philosophy 2: 193–221. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.1994.tb00021.x

McMahan, Jeff. 2004. The ethics of killing in war. Ethics 114: 693–733. doi: 10.1086/422400

McMahan, Jeff. 2005a. Just cause for war. Ethics and International Affairs 19: 1–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7093.2005.tb00551.x

McMahan, Jeff. 2005b. The basis of moral liability to defensive killing. Philosophical Issues 15: 386–405. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-6077.2005.00073.x

McMahan, Jeff. 2006. On the moral equality of combatants. The Journal of Political Philosophy 14: 377–393. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2006.00265.x

McMahan, Jeff. 2008b. Justification and liability in war. Journal of Political Philosophy 16: 227–244. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2007.00301.x

McMahan, Jeff. 2009. Killing in war. Oxford: Clarendon Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548668.001.0001

McMahan, Jeff. 2010. The just distribution of harm between combatants and noncombatants. Philosophy & Public Affairs 38: 342–379. doi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2010.01196.x

Miller, Seumas. 2001. Social action: A teleological account. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511612954

Fabre, Cécile. 2009. Guns, food, and liability to attack in war. Ethics 120: 36–63. doi: 10.1086/649218

Steinhoff, Uwe. 2007a. On the ethics of war and terrorism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217373.001.0001

Steinhoff, Uwe. 2008. Jeff McMahan on the moral inequality of combatants. Journal of Political Philosophy 16: 220–226. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2007.00304.x

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorSteinhoff, Uen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2012-05-28T08:17:35Z-
dc.date.available2012-05-28T08:17:35Z-
dc.date.issued2012en_HK
dc.identifier.citationJournal Of Ethics, 2012, v. 16 n. 4, p. 339-366en_HK
dc.identifier.issn1382-4554en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/147109-
dc.description.abstractAccording 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 rights of innocent people ("collateral damage"), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. © 2012 The Author(s).en_HK
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherSpringer Verlag Dordrecht. The Journal's web site is located at http://springerlink.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=journal&issn=1382-4554en_HK
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Ethicsen_HK
dc.rightsThe Author(s)en_US
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong Licenseen_US
dc.subjectJust causeen_HK
dc.subjectLiability to attacken_HK
dc.subjectMcMahan, Jeffen_HK
dc.subjectMoral equality of combatantsen_HK
dc.subjectRightsen_HK
dc.subjectThomson, Judith Jarvisen_HK
dc.subjectWaren_HK
dc.titleRights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatantsen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://www.springerlink.com/link-out/?id=2104&code=4460546223RP2043&MUD=MPen_US
dc.identifier.emailSteinhoff, U: ustnhoff@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authoritySteinhoff, U=rp00610en_HK
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_versionen_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1007/s10892-012-9120-zen_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84870513966en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros203924-
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dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.2307/1373089en_US
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dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.2307/2585486en_US
dc.relation.referencesKutz, Christopher. 2000. Complicity: Ethics and law for a collective age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.en_US
dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.1017/CBO9780511663758en_US
dc.relation.referencesLazar, Seth. 2009. Responsibility, risk, and killing in self-defense. Ethics 119: 699–728.en_US
dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.1086/605727en_US
dc.relation.referencesLazar, Seth. 2010. The responsibility dilemma for killing in war: A review essay. Philosophy & Public Affairs 38: 180–213.en_US
dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2010.01182.xen_US
dc.relation.referencesMapel, David R. 2009. Moral liability to defensive killing and symmetrical self-defense. The Journal of Political Philosophy 18: 198–217.en_US
dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2009.00340.xen_US
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dc.relation.referencesdoi: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2010.01196.xen_US
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dc.identifier.spage339en_HK
dc.identifier.epage366en_HK
dc.identifier.eissn1572-8609en_US
dc.publisher.placeNetherlandsen_HK
dc.description.otherSpringer Open Choice, 28 May 2012en_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridSteinhoff, U=24167075300en_HK
dc.identifier.citeulike10403160-

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