Just and Unjust Warriors: The Moral and Legal Status of Soldiers

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Can a soldier be held responsible for fighting in a war that is illegal or unjust? This is the question at the heart of a new debate that has the potential to profoundly change our understanding of the moral and legal status of warriors, wars, and indeed of moral agency itself. The debate pits a widely shared and legally entrenched principle of war-that combatants have equal rights and equal responsibilities irrespective of whether they are fi ghting in a war that is just or unjust-against a set of striking new arguments. These arguments challenge the idea that there is a separation between the rules governing the justice of going to war (the jus ad bellum) and the rules governing what combatants can do in war (the jus in bello). If ad bellum and in bello rules are connected in the way these new arguments suggest, then many aspects of just war theory and laws of war would have to be rethought and perhaps reformed.

This book contains eleven original and closely argued essays by leading figures in the ethics and laws of war and provides an authoritative treatment of this important new debate. The essays both challenge and defend many deeply held convictions: about the liability of soldiers for crimes of aggression, about the nature and justifiability of terrorism, about the relationship between law and morality, the relationship between soldiers and states, and the relationship between the ethics of war and the ethics of ordinary life.

This book is a project of the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The quality of the contributions in Just and Unjust Warriors is universally high, and, unlike most edited volumes, in which the individual chapters stand more or less in isolation, in this instance there is continuous cross-referencing between the authors. This produces a volume that is unusually coherent and focussed for an edited work, a fact for which Rodin and Shue deserve congratulation."—Journal of Applied Philosoph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199233120
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Rodin is Research Fellow in Philosophy at the Changing Character of War Program at Oxford University, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University. His research covers a wide range of topics in moral philosophy including the ethics of war and conflict, business ethics, and international justice. He is the author of War and Self-Defense (OUP 2002), which was awarded the American Philosophical Association Sharp Prize, and is co-editor of The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions, and of Preemption (OUP 2007).

Henry Shue is Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at Merton College at Oxford University, and from 2002-2007 he was Professor of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University. Best known for Basic Rights, he has written a number of highly influential articles.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction, David Rodin and Henry Shue
2. The Morality of War and the Law of War, Jeff McMahan
3. The Moral Inequality of Soldiers: Why Jus in Bello Asymmetry is Half Right, David Rodin
4. Fearful Symmetry, Christopher Kutz
5. Do We Need a "Morality of War"?, Henry Shue
6. How to Judge Soldiers Whose Cause in Unjust, Judith Lichtenberg
7. Moral Equality, Victimhood and the Sovereignty Symmetry Problem, Cheyney Ryan
8. The Status of Combatants, Tony Coady
9. Is the Independent Application of Jus in Bello the way to Limit War?, Anthony Coates
10. Just War and Regular War: Competing Paradigms, Gregory Reichberg
11. A Presumption of the Moral Equality of Combatants: a Citizen Soldier' Perspective, Dan Zupan
12. The Principle of Equal Application of the Laws of War, Adam Roberts

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