DA4711 Ethical Analysis of War

This course will focus on the contemporary philosophical debate over the moral justification for states engaging in war and for individuals killing in war. The foundations and history of just war theory, as well as alternative accounts such as political realism and pacifism, will first be covered to provide a general starting point for the broader moral justification for going to war. From that foundation, debates regarding ethical conduct within war and competing theories over the moral justification for killing will be examined. Topics to be covered also include: recent, contemporary revisionist just war theory models, the moral equality of combatants thesis and its rejection, the moral obligations of a soldier serving for both just and unjust causes, and unique ethical considerations for special forces and irregular war operations. Finally, attention will also be given to the unique ethical challenges raised by newly emerging military technology, such as drones and cyber weapons. This is a graduate philosophy seminar where we wrestle over many of the current issues on the cutting edge of the ethics of war debate in contemporary analytic philosophy.


DA4710 or Consent of Instructor

Lecture Hours


Lab Hours


Quarter Offered

  • As Required