Title page for ETD etd-41998-18346


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kilner, Peter
Author's Email Address pkilner@vt.edu
URN etd-41998-18346
Title Soldiers, Self-Defense, and Killing in War
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miller, Harlan B. Committee Chair
Christman, John P. Committee Member
Croskery, Patrick T. Committee Member
Keywords
  • pacifism
  • just war
  • military ethics
  • killing
Date of Defense 1998-05-07
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Just-Warists and War-Pacifists disagree on whether soldiers are morally justified in killing each other in wartime combat. Many of their respective arguments, and their contradictory conclusions, are based upon principles of self-defense. In this thesis, I examine the role that principles of self-defense play in the arguments surrounding the moral justification of killing in combat. I do so by critiquing both a Just-Warist argument that relies on self-defense (constructed from the works of Michael Walzer and Judith Jarvis Thomson) and a War-Pacifist argument (developed by Richard Norman) that condemns killing in combat based on the moral requirements of self-defense. I demonstrate that both arguments fail due to their mistaken assumptions that soldiers are not morally responsible for their actions. I conclude by arguing that--once soldiers are recognized as morally responsible agents--killing in combat can be morally justified by principles of self-defense.
Files
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