Soldiers, civilians, and in Bello proportionality: A proposed revision

Elad Uzan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    What kind of risks must a soldier take in order to not harm civilians in the modern battlefield? The question has two levels: (1) estimating the relevant risk soldiers and civilians face in the modern battlefield, and (2) arguing for a certain degree of risk that soldiers must take to minimize civilian loss. In this article, I offer a mathematical model of (1), and follow with the (generally, though not universally, accepted) moral principle that soldiers must take significant, though not suicidal, risks to not harm civilians. While many have been sensitive to the dilemma soldiers face in the modern battlefield, there has not been, to the best of my knowledge, an attempt to evaluate it mathematically. This kind of evaluation has two advantages: First, it clarifies the precise nature of the moral dilemma soldiers face on the modern battlefield. Second, and more importantly, it shows that the principle in question is, in fact, a rule-consequentialist principle.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-96
    Number of pages10
    JournalThe Monist
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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