Killing in War

Paperback | March 1, 2011

byJeff McMahan

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Killing a person is in general among the most seriously wrongful forms of action, yet most of us accept that it can be permissible to kill people on a large scale in war. Does morality become more permissive in a state of war? Jeff McMahan argues that conditions in war make no difference towhat morality permits and the justifications for killing people are the same in war as they are in other contexts, such as individual self-defence. This view is radically at odds with the traditional theory of the just war and has implications that challenge common sense views. McMahan argues, forexample, that it is wrong to fight in a war that is unjust because it lacks a just cause.

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Killing a person is in general among the most seriously wrongful forms of action, yet most of us accept that it can be permissible to kill people on a large scale in war. Does morality become more permissive in a state of war? Jeff McMahan argues that conditions in war make no difference towhat morality permits and the justifications f...

Jeff McMahan is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He works primarily in ethics and political philosophy, and occasionally in metaphysics and legal theory.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.07 inPublished:March 1, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019960357X

ISBN - 13:9780199603572

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Table of Contents

1. The Morality of Participation in an Unjust War2. Arguments for the Moral Equality of Combatants3. Excuses4. Liability and the Limits of Self-Defense5. Civilian Immunity and Civilian Liability

Editorial Reviews

"Jeff McMahan has written a genuinely revolutionary book... Once advanced, McMahan's thesis seems obvious, and it is his considerable philosophical merit to make us realize how obvious it is... McMahan is a very careful philosopher; as soon as he states a thesis, he thinks of qualifications,objections, and rebuttals... He does not operate from a general theory but proceeds from case to case, weaving an intricate web of subtle distinctions Killing in War is a distinguished contribution to moral theory." --David Gordon, The Mises Review 15/06/2009