Moral Tragedies, Supreme Emergencies and National Defense

Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2006

Posted: 29 Mar 2006

See all articles by Daniel Statman

Daniel Statman

University of Haifa - Department of Philosophy

Abstract

Assume that some group, A, is under a serious threat from some other group, B. The only way group A can defend itself is by using lethal force against group B, but the standard conditions for using force in self-defense are not met. Ought group A to avoid the use of force even if this means yielding to an aggressive, evil power? Most people would resist this conclusion, yet given the violation of essential conditions for self-defense, this resistance is hard to justify. The aim of this paper is to point to an interesting yet unnoticed move made by some philosophers to find a way out of this problem, a move which relies on construing the situation at hand as a tragic dilemma. I show the attractiveness of this solution and argue that in the end it fails.

Keywords: supreme emergency, moral tragedies, national defense, morality and war

Suggested Citation

Statman, Daniel, Moral Tragedies, Supreme Emergencies and National Defense. Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=889945

Daniel Statman (Contact Author)

University of Haifa - Department of Philosophy ( email )

Eshkol Tower, 19th Floor
Haifa 31905, 31905
Israel
+972-4-656-8343 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://philo.haifa.ac.il/staff/statman.htm

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