Just and Unjust Soldiers

Date
2013-05-08
Authors
Berry, Nathaniel
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Worldwide access
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Abstract

In his book Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer distinguishes between the just causes for going to war -ius ad bellum- and the just conduct of war itself -ius in bello. In order to articulate the system of permissions and prohibitions governing of ius in bello, Walzer relies on the concept of the moral equailty of soldiers. Regardless of the justice of the cause for which they fight, soldiers on both sides of a conflict are responsible for the conduct of war. They are not responsible for its causes. In my thesis, I question this separation of responsibility, saying that soldiers do indeed bear some level of moral responsibility for ad bellum considerations. In the first chapter, I propose a modification of Walzer's delineation. In the second, I discuss my foundation for this proposal and some of its practical effects. In the third, I consider some of its moral and legal ramifications. Overall, I attempt to modify Walzer's system while respecting its general structure.

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Just War, Moral Theory, Political Theory
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