Can Wars Be Fought Justly? The Necessity Condition Put to the Test
Journal of Moral Philosophy, Forthcoming
25 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2011
Date Written: June, 28 2011
According to a widespread view, wars are justified only if they are fought in self-defense. It follows that the same constraints that limit the use of otherwise immoral measures in individual self-defense apply to collective self-defense too. I try to show that this view has radical implications at the level of jus in bello which have not been fully appreciated. In particular, if the necessity condition must be satisfied in all cases of killing in war, then most fighting turns out to be unjust. One way to avoid this result is to adopt a contractual view of killing in war which interprets the necessity condition in a way that is more permissive with regard to killing combatants in war. At least in this respect, a contractual view of killing in war has an advantage over other candidates in explaining how wars might be fought justly.
Keywords: just war theory, self defense, necessity, propotionality, contractualism
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