Fabre, Cecile, and . Cosmopolitan War

2012, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Back matter: War is about individuals maiming and killing each other, and yet, it seems that it is also irreducibly collective, as it is fought by groups of people and more often than not for the sake of communal values such as territorial integrity and national self-determination. Cécile Fabre articulates and defends an ethical account of war in which the individual, as a moral and rational agent, is the fundamental focus for concern and respect–both as a combatant whose acts of killing need justifying and as a non-combatant whose suffering also needs justifying. She takes as her starting point a political morality to which the individual, rather than the nation-state, is central, namely cosmopolitanism. According to cosmopolitanism, individuals all matter equally, irrespective of their membership in this or that political community. Traditional war ethics already accepts this principle, since it holds that unarmed civilians are illegitimate targets even though they belong to the enemy community. However, although the traditional account of whom we may kill in wars is broadly faithful to that principle, the traditional account of why we may kill and of who may kill is not. Cosmopolitan theorists, for their part, do not address the ethical issues raised by war in any depth. Fabre’s Cosmopolitan War seeks to fill this gap, and defends its account of just and unjust wars by addressing the ethics of different kinds of war: wars of national defence, wars over scarce resources, civil wars, humanitarian intervention, wars involving private military forces, and asymmetrical wars.

Comment: This is a pivotal text on new war theory. It is best used as a primary text in advanced war theory, especially for those already familiar with the general literature on Just War.

Fabre, Cecile, and . In Defense of Mercenarism

2010, British Journal of Political Science 40 (2010): 539-559.

Abstract: The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been characterized by the deployment of large private military forces, under contract with the US administration. The use of so-called private military corporations (PMCs) and, more generally, of mercenaries, has long attracted criticisms. This article argues that under certain conditions (drawn from the Just War tradition), there is nothing inherently objectionable about mercenarism. It begins by exposing a weakness in the most obvious justification for mercenarism, to wit, the justification from freedom of occupational choice. It then deploys a less obvious, but stronger, argument – one that appeals to the importance of enabling just defensive killings. Finally, it rebuts five moral objections to mercenarism.

Comment: This text is best used as a secondary reading for advanced war theory and military ethics.

French, Shannon E.; McCain, John, and . The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present

2004, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Back matter: Warrior cultures throughout history have developed unique codes that restrict their behavior and set them apart from the rest of society. But what possible reason could a warrior have for accepting such restraints? Why should those whose profession can force them into hellish kill-or-be-killed conditions care about such lofty concepts as honor, courage, nobility, duty, and sacrifice? And why should it matter so much to the warriors themselves that they be something more than mere murderers? The Code of the Warrior tackles these timely issues and takes the reader on a tour of warrior cultures and their values, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the “barbaric” Vikings and Celts, from legendary chivalric knights to Native American tribesmen, from Chinese warrior monks pursuing enlightenment to Japanese samurai practicing death. Drawing these rich traditions up to the present, the author quests for a code for the warriors of today, as they do battle in asymmetric conflicts against unconventional forces and the scourge of global terrorism.

Comment: A longish article, but very useful as a thorough critique of luck egalitarianism, for the author's take on the capability approach, and for her account of democratic equality which revolves around the ideal of democratic citizenship

Frowe, Helen, and . The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction

2011, London: Routledge.

Publisher: When is it right to go to war? When is a war illegal? What are the rules of engagement? What should happen when a war is over? How should we view terrorism? The Ethics of War and Peace is a fresh and contemporary introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. It introduces students to contemporary Just War Theory in a stimulating and engaging way, perfect for those approaching the topic for the first time. Helen Frowe explains the core issues in Just War Theory, and chapter by chapter examines the recent and ongoing philosophical? debates on:

  • theories of self defence and national defence
  • Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, and Jus post Bellum
  • the moral status of combatants
  • the principle of non-combatant immunity
  • the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists.

Each chapter concludes with a useful summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading, to aid student learning and revision. The Ethics of War and Peace is the ideal textbook for students studying philosophy, politics and international relations.

Comment: This text is best used in modules or classes introducing or investigating military ethics, war theory, and legal philosophy.

Olberding, Amy, and Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.). Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought

2011, SUNY Press

Publisher’s note: Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought is the definitive exploration of a complex and fascinating but little-understood subject. Arguably, death as a concept has not been nearly as central a preoccupation in Chinese culture as it has been in the West. However, even in a society that seems to understand death as a part of life, responses to mortality are revealing and indicate much about what is valued and what is feared. This edited volume fills the lacuna on this subject, presenting an array of philosophical, artistic, historical, and religious perspectives on death during a variety of historical periods. Contributors look at material culture, including findings now available from the Mawangdui tomb excavations; consider death in Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions; and discuss death and the history and philosophy of war.

Comment: This volume contains a number of excellent essays on mortality as it appears in Chinese philosophy. It would be useful in a history of Chinese philosophy course, or to provide an additional perspective in a course on philosophy of death, immortality and the afterlife.

Sherman, Nancy, and . Empathy, Respect, and Humanitarian Intervention

1998, Ethics and International Affairs 12(1): 103–119.

Abstract: This essay examines the moral attitudes that underlie commitments to humanitarian intervention. Specifically, the essay seeks to explain how respect and empathy together create the ethical imperative for humanitarian intervention. Traditionally excluded from the formal discourse on humanitarian intervention, empathy is presented as an integral component of making the “ought” of humanitarian intervention psychologically feasible.

The essay presents a slightly revised definition of empathy, in which empathy is the cognitive ability to place oneself in the world of another, imagining all of the realities, feelings, and circumstances of that person in the context of their world. This differs from the notion that feelings of empathy are limited to those with whom one shares a close relationship. The essay contends that the ability to identify with others is necessary in order to mobilize the feelings of respect for others into acts of humanitarian intervention.

Comment: Sherman presents a slightly revised definition of empathy, in which empathy is the cognitive ability to place oneself in the world of another, imagining all of the realities, feelings, and circumstances of that person in the context of their world. Useful article to compliment discussions on the humanitarian role in war.

Sherman, Nancy, and . Virtue and a Warrior’s Anger

2007, In Rebecca L. Walker & P. J. Ivanhoe (eds.), Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. Oxford University Press.

Comment: This text is best used as additional reading in ethics and virtue. This chapter is specifically useful in philosophy of war for discussion of effects of war on combatants.

Sherman, Nancy, and . From Nuremberg to Guantánamo: Medical Ethics Then and Now

2007, Washington University Global Studies Law Review 6(3): 609-619.

Abstract: On October 25, 1946, three weeks after the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg entered its verdicts, the United States established Military Tribunal I for the trial of twenty-three Nazi physicians. The charges, delivered by Brigadier General Telford Taylor on December 9, 1946, form a seminal chapter in the history of medical ethics and, specifically, medical ethics in war. The list of noxious experiments conducted on civilians and prisons of war, and condemned by the Tribunal as war crimes and as crimes against humanity, is by now more or less familiar. That list included: high-altitude experiments; freezing experiments; malaria experiments; sulfanilamide experiments; bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration and bone transplantation experiments; sea water experiments; jaundice and spotted fever experiments; sterilization experiments; experiments with poison and with incendiary bombs. What remains less familiar is the moral mindset of doctors and health care workers who plied their medical skill for morally questionable uses in war. In his 1981 work, The Nazi Doctors, Robert Jay Lifton took up that question, interviewing doctors, many of whom for forty years continued to distance themselves psychologically from their deeds. The questions about moral distancing Lifton raised (though not the questions about criminal experiments) have immediate urgency for us now. Military medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists serve in U.S. military prisons in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Kandahar, and, until very recently, in undisclosed CIA operated facilities around the world where medical ethics are again at issue. Moreover, they serve in top positions in the Pentagon, as civilian and military heads of command, who pass orders and regulations to military doctors in the field, and who are in charge of the health of enemy combatants, as well as U.S. soldiers. Because we recently marked the sixtieth anniversary of the judgment at Nuremberg, I want to awaken our collective memory to the ways in which doctors in war, even in a war very different from the one the Nazis fought, can insulate themselves from their moral and professional consciences.

Comment: This text is best used as an additional reading in bioethics, or in just war theory (post ad bellum).