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A Rossian just war theory

Patricia J Steck, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


A Rossian Just War Theory revises and extends the projects begun by Childress and O‘Connor, who argued that just war theory ought to be based on Rossian prima facie duties. The project also leans heavily on the work of Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan. This project will initiate a fourth segment, jus ante bellum, or justice before the war.^ As an ethics of warfare based in prima facie duties, the first question is what is necessary to justify overriding the duty of non-injury? The central idea is that the group of just war principles, together, must be satisfied in order to override the duty of non-injury. Articulating these principles in terms of prima facie duties is covered in the first chapter. Two subsequent chapters address the question of how to ground jus ante bellum and jus post bellum in a prima facie duties framework? Jus ante bellum responsibilities are grounded in a duty to protect human rights and can be instances of overriding the duties of non-injury and fidelity. Chapter two introduces a picture of the prima facie duties of the state in order to explicate jus ante bellum duties and fulfill prima facie duties. Chapter three develops the idea of the prima facie duties of the state in order to formulate a set of jus post bellum principles for an ethical set of restrictions on post-conflict reconstruction.^ The final two chapters focus on challenges facing a prima facie just war theory. Chapter four concerns the question is how to handle individual judgments when the soldier has an obligation to fight and thus to override their prima facie duty of non-injury, but in their analysis the conditions of a just war have not obtained, and thus there is no moral justification for overriding non-injury. Chapter five covers the problem of supreme emergencies, tackling the question of whether it can be permissible to override non-combatant immunity in order to prevent horrific consequences.^

Subject Area

Ethics|Philosophy|Military Studies

Recommended Citation

Steck, Patricia J, "A Rossian just war theory" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3412890.