[SydPhil] Philosophy Department Seminar at Macquarie

Jane Johnson jane.johnson at mq.edu.au
Sat Aug 31 22:20:02 AEST 2013

Friday 6th September Seth Lazar of ANU will give the Macquarie Philosophy
Seminar 1pm-3pm in W6A 127. All are welcome.

'Collectivish foundations for distinction between combatants
and noncombatants in war'

Abstract: Many hold the view that, other things equal, there is something
more wrongful about killing a noncombatant in war, than killing
a combatant. This principle of distinction is at the heart of the laws of
armed conflict, and of most ethical traditions governing war. And yet it is
rather hard to justify. I'm working on a book that develops a novel
approach to justifying the principle of distinction, as well as a number of
either original or underappreciated arguments to that end. In this talk,
I'm going to consider possible collectivist foundations for Distinction.
Harming people because of the group they belong to is normally thought
paradigmatically evil. I'm not going to argue against that commonsense
view. Instead I'm going to consider some 'collectivish' arguments in the
neighbourhood—criticising those of Cécile Fabre and Saba Bazargan, who
focus on individual complicity in collective wrongdoing, and advancing
two of my own, focusing on respect for the self-determination of groups
with which we are at war, and the manner in which combatants, in virtue of
their institutional role, undermine one another's security even when they
are wholly ineffective at contributing to unjust threats.
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