This book provides a thorough critical overview of the current debate on the ethics of war, as well as a modern just war theory that can give practical action-guidance by recognizing and explaining the moral force of widely accepted law. Traditionalist, Walzerian, and "revisionist" approaches have dominated contemporary debates about the classical jus ad bellum and jus in bello requirements in just war theory. In this book, Uwe Steinhoff corrects widely spread misinterpretations of these competing views and spells out the implications for the ethics of war. His approach is unique in that it complements the usual analysis in terms of self-defense with an emphasis on the importance of other justifications that are often lumped together under the heading of "lesser evil." It also draws on criminal law and legal scholarship, which has been largely ignored by just war theorists. Ultimately, Steinhoff rejects arguments in favor of "moral fundamentalism"— the view that the laws and customs of war must simply follow an immutable morality. In contrast, he argues that widely accepted laws and conventions of war are partly constitutive of the moral rules that apply in a conflict.
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