War Morality Outline - Introduction: Explain what I will be...

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Introduction: Explain what I will be covering in this essay Thesis that Nagel is correct and as I will show these two moral theories can’t coexist in certain circumstances because one of them will claim the action is morally impermissible First will explain the moral war theory Absolutism Then will explain the moral war theory Utilitarianism Will explain the main similarities and differences between the two Will bring up the situation of torturing a soldier for information o Utilitarianism finds it permissible/Absolutism does not In this scenario its impossible for both moral theories to be used, and whether the prisoner is tortured or not, one of the two moral theories is forced to be violated thus proving Nagel right. Overall Moral theory of Absolutism: There are two different types of Absolutist prohibitions during wartime (Nagel 64) o Restrictions on the type of people to whom hostile behavior is directed o Restrictions on the type of hostile behavior or violence that is directed towards that allowed group of people o Main restriction overall though is, to treat everyone as a human being, implying not using them as a means or just an end These two go together to say in summary that hostile treatment of any person must be justified in terms of something about that person which makes the treatment appropriate (Nagel 64) Absolutists MAIN POINT is that we avoid murder at all costs, not that we prevent it at all costs (Nagel 62) Overall, it would be acceptable to fire a machine gun at someone throwing grenades at you because your attack is aimed specifically against the threat presented by a dangerous opponent, and not an attack against a peripheral target through which that person happens to be vulnerable and not involved in this threat towards you (Nagel 69) If you stopped this target by killing his wife and children who were standing off to the side, you would be stopping him however, you would be doing this by attacking a peripheral target, who is not threatening your life and you would be treating the wife and kid as a means. Certain soldiers in war may never experience hostile treatement or treat others with hostility because nothing in their encounters would warrant or justifty this treatment Whereas others may be objects of hostility depending on the given situation, and it might be morally correct for those actions in that situation such as coming across another soldier who is attacking you in hopes to kill you, then you would be justified in using hostile treatment for self defense
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Fighting dirty is to be hostile or show aggression not at the proper person or target that warrents it, but at a different target which is a lot more vulnerable and undeserving of this treatment (Nagel 65) Absolutism seems to work because in some cases where someone has to make a choice to do something terrible no matter what, and clearly is wrong, absolutism maintains its presence and cannot be used as justification for this action which is
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2011 for the course PHIL 1110 taught by Professor Stapleton during the Spring '10 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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War Morality Outline - Introduction: Explain what I will be...

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