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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the two main ways to think about the ethics of war. The first is to start by thinking about war. The second is to think about the ethics of killing outside of war, then apply those principles to the case of war. In contemporary just war theory, the first approach has most commonly been associated with those who broadly aim to vindicate international law, such as Michael Walzer and his contemporary defenders. The second approach is more frequently linked to the work of Jeff McMahan, and Walzer’s other revisionist critics. I show that this conflation is mere accident. Indeed, perhaps the richest terrain to be ploughed is in the combinations that have been relatively neglected—vindications of international law that start from cases based outside of war; critiques of international law based on the distinctive nature of war.

Keywords: just war theory, just war, Michael Walzer, orthodoxy, individualism, morality of war, traditionalist, reductivism, revisionism, ethics of war

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