The lesser evil dilemma for sparing civilians

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The rule I call ‘Civilian Immunity’ - the rule that prohibits targeting civilians in war - is the heart of the accepted jus in bello code. It prohibits targeting (viz., intentionally killing) civilians in a wide variety of war circumstances. Seth Lazar’s brilliant book, Sparing Civilians, attempts to defend Civilian Immunity. In this essay I show, first, that his ‘Risky-Killing based argument’ fails to provide civilians with the robust protection Sparing Civilians promises. I argue, secondly, that the moral framework that Sparing Civilians employs, a moral framework that centralizes the Deontological Clause (stating that one’s intentional killing is worse than enabling others to kill), leaves the immunity of civilians against Leaders unexplained.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9312
Pages (from-to)243-267
Number of pages25
JournalLaw and Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


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