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Unformatted text preview: Phil 106, Fall 2010 McMahan on War Hoversten Views on the just war Approaches to JWT Views of sovereignty Jus in Bello Classical theory Inapplicable Asymmetrical Hobbesian theory Right to war Symmetrical Traditional theory Right against aggression Symmetrical Revisionist theory No attack unless liable Asymmetrical Classical theory Classical theorists saw the morality of war as an extension of natural law. As a consequence, its main application was to the actions of individuals, and its motivation was the articulation of objective moral truths as opposed to practical principles for limiting the destructiveness of conflict. In the classical theory, jus ad bellum and jus in bello were strongly linked. In general, it was not permissible for soldiers of army A to attack soldiers of army B if the Bs war was just. In essence, the members of B are innocent , and war against them is impermissible. However, classical theorists recognized the issue of uncertainty . Often, it is difficult for soldiers to judge whether their war is just. Two types of uncertainty can arise: Factual uncertainty Since soldiers are not the primary planners and initiators of war, they may not have all the facts regarding the cause and implications of war. Moral uncertainty The issues surrounding war are complex, and it isnt always clear who is in the right in a conflict. Classical theorists generally agreed that in cases of genuine uncertainty, the duty of obedience to ones ruler mandated that the soldier fight. Some went further and suggested that the responsibility for par- ticipation in the war rested on the leaders, and not the individual soldiers. Transition to the traditional theory Thomas Hobbes initiated the transition from a classical approach to war to the traditional approach with his articulation of the sovereign state . On Hobbes view, the ground of morality is the presence of a coercive power to enforce the rules laid down by man. The need for such a body is what motivates the formation of states. But since there is no coercive power governing the interaction between states, there can be no morality of war. In essence, state sovereignty is tantamount to a right to war . For Hobbes, there can be no binding principles of jus ad bellum because there is no motivation for states to follow such principles when they arent in their interests. However, principles of jus in bello may be motivating because following them serves the best interests of all states (as opposed to risking retaliatory response from other states). Practical principles of jus in bello The Hobbesian approach to war suggests that the only reasonable principles are those that will serve the best interests of all parties involved. Everyone can be seen to have an interest in limiting the violence of war, and one way to achieve that is to invoke a principle of discrimination in which legitimate targets are clearly distinguished from illegitimate ones....
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- Fall '10