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date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Much work in the ethics of war is structured around the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. This distinction has two key roles. It distinguishes two evaluative objects—the war ‘as a whole’, and the conduct of combatants during the war—and identifies different moral principles as relevant to each. I argue that we should be sceptical of this framework. I suggest that a single set of principles determines the justness of actions that cause nonconsensual harm. If so, there are no distinctive ad bellum or in bello principles. I also reject the view that whilst the justness of, for example, ad bellum proportionality rests on all the goods and harms produced by the war, the justness of combatants’ conduct in war is determined by a comparatively limited set of goods and harms in a way that supports the ad bellum–in bello distinction.

Keywords: jus ad bellum, jus in bello, proportionality, necessity, evaluating war

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