In thinking about the rules of war, the trend in contemporary political philosophy has been to start from individual conduct and scale up. War is just many instances of individual self-defense, so the rules about individual self-defense will frame the principles of just warfare. Our guest today, Jon Quong, wants to flip that on its head. To understand whether a given individual is acting rightly in harming another, we need to first settle our views about the social context in which it takes place.
Tag Archives: killing in war
Why are soldiers allowed to kill in war? For philosophers who believe in what Seth Lazar calls the “new orthodoxy,” the answer is that soldiers can kill for the same reason anyone can kill: self-defense. War is just individual self-defense writ large. But self-defense, Lazar says, is a deeply problematic basis for something as important as the rules of war.