On the Ethics of War and Terrorism

On the Ethics of War and Terrorism

by Uwe Steinhoff
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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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 also argues that the just cause cannot be established independently of the other criteria of jus ad bellum (the justification of entering a war), except for right intention, which he interprets more leniently than the tradition does. Turning to jus in bello (which governs the conduct of a war) he criticizes the Doctrine of Double Effect and concludes that insofar as wars kill innocents, and be it as "collateral damage", they cannot be just but at best justified as the lesser evil. Steinhoff gives particular attention to the question why soldiers, allegedly, are legitimate targets and civilians not. Discussing four approaches to the explanation of the difference he argues that the four principles underlying them all need to be taken into account and outlines how their weighing can proceed if applied to concrete cases. The resulting approach does not square the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate targets with the distinction between soldiers and civilians, which has extremely important consequences for the conduct of war. Finally, Steinhoff analyses the concept of terrorism and argues that some forms of "terrorism" are actually not terrorism at all and that even terrorism proper can under certain circumstances be justified.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This penetrating philosophical analysis...offers a rigorous critique of central ideas and concepts of the just-war tradition... [Steinhoff] challenges the moral validity of commonly accepted ideas about the ethics of war, such as the distinction between consequences that are intended and those that are foreseen but unintended (double effect)... Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"In his chosen role of philosophe provocateur, [Steinhoff] presents a sustained position buttressed by enthusiastic critiques of conventional views and unblinking pursuit of the logic of the alternatives. Especially for students of philosophy, this book will be a useful provocation, and much of what is said is well taken."--Survival

"Steinhoff has written a remarkably different, painfully dense, and hugely intelligent book."--Cambridge Review of International Affairs

"This powerfully challenging book is sure to provoke controversy and stimulate debate."--Jeff McMahan, Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191527180
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/24/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
308 KB

Meet the Author

Uwe Steinhoff, studied philosophy, psychology and politics in Frankfurt a.M., Berlin and Würzburg. He is the author of Kritik der kommunikativen Rationalität: Eine Darstellung und Kritik der kommunikationstheoretischen Philosophie von Jürgen Habermas und Karl-Otto Apel and of Effiziente Ethik: Über Rationalität, Selbsterschaffung, Politik und Postmoderne as well as of articles on ethics, political philosophy, epistemology and postmodernism. He is is a Research Associate in the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War and an Affiliated Researcher at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

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