Benbaji on killing in war and 'the war convention'

Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):616-623 (2010)
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Yitzhak Benbaji defends the view that soldiers on both the ‘just’ and the ‘unjust’ side in a war have the same liberty right to kill one another, because soldiers have ‘tacitly accepted’ the egalitarian laws of war and thereby waived their moral rights not to be attacked. I argue that soldiers on the ‘just’ side have not accepted the egalitarian laws of war; even if they had, they would not thereby have waived their moral rights not to be attacked. Moreover, the egalitarian laws of war and ‘the war convention’ are not fair and mutually beneficial, and so would not be accepted. Benbaji does not come to grips with the problem of the killing of civilians in war: his idea that states could waive the moral rights of their citizens is untenable



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Uwe Steinhoff
University of Hong Kong

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