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8 - The Law of War and Its Relationship to the Morality of War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2020

David Lefkowitz
Affiliation:
University of Richmond
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Summary

This chapter assess four accounts of the relationship between the morality and the law of war and the implications that each has for the retention or replacement of two key features of the latter: the equality of combatants, and noncombatant or civilian immunity. Michael Walzer defends these features of the law of war on the grounds that they mirror the content of the true morality of war. In contrast, Jeff McMahan, Adil Haque, and David Rodin argue that in its commitment to the equality of combatants and noncombatant immunity, the law of war deviates from the content of the true morality of war. While Rodin argues that the law of war ought to be reformed so as to mirror the (revisionist) morality of war, McMahan and Haque both defend it on the grounds that combatants will generally do better at acting as morality requires if they follow the existing law of war. Finally, Henry Shue and Janina Dill reject the assumption shared by all of the aforementioned theorists that the law of war should aim to minimize the violation of individual rights. Instead, they argue that it should serve the humanitarian goal of reducing the harm war causes.

Type
Chapter
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Philosophy and International Law
A Critical Introduction
, pp. 157 - 181
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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