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Cover

Killing in War

Jeff McMahan

February 2011

ISBN: 9780199603572

272 pages
Paperback
216x135mm

In Stock

Uehiro Series in Practical Ethics

Price: £16.49

Jeff McMahan urges us to reject the view, dominant throughout history, that mere participation in an unjust war is not wrong. He argues powerfully that combatants who fight for an unjust cause are acting wrongly and are themselves morally responsible for their actions. We must rethink our attitudes to the moral role of the individual in war.

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Description

Jeff McMahan urges us to reject the view, dominant throughout history, that mere participation in an unjust war is not wrong. He argues powerfully that combatants who fight for an unjust cause are acting wrongly and are themselves morally responsible for their actions. We must rethink our attitudes to the moral role of the individual in war.

  • A highly controversial challenge to the consensus about responsibility in war
  • Argues compellingly that if the leaders are in the wrong, then the soldiers are in the wrong
  • Has disturbing implications e.g. for the moral status of British and American combatants in Iraq
  • Clear, concise, and careful — a provoking read for anyone concerned about the morality of war

About the Author(s)

Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University, New Jersey

Jeff McMahan is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He works primarily in ethics and political philosophy, and occasionally in metaphysics and legal theory.

Table of Contents

    1:The Morality of Participation in an Unjust War
    2:Arguments for the Moral Equality of Combatants
    3:Excuses
    4:Liability and the Limits of Self-Defense
    5:Civilian Immunity and Civilian Liability

Reviews

"McMahan's outstanding and readable book Killing in War.. . should help to quiet non-philosophers who dismiss Anglo-American philosophy for being esoteric and aloof, and philosophers who complain that little is happening in moral and political philosophy... He gives comprehensive arguments; he charitably formulates and conscientiously responds to objections. His conclusions might make many readers uncomfortable, but he arrives at them on the basis of moral considerations that otherwise are not particularly controversial... [The book's] rigor, depth, and humanity are estimable." - Lionel K. McPherson, Mind

"McMahan makes his arguments with the meticulous logical care of analytical philosophy reminiscent of Derek Parfit's path-breaking work, Reasons and Persons. Killing in War is a provocative contribution to contemporary philosophy and military ethics." - Benjamin Mitchell, The Journal of Politics

"This is a good book, well-informed, carefully written and full of insight, scholarship and tough argument. It will certainly stimulate extensive debate amongst philosophers." - Tony Coady, Australian Book Review

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