This module provides an overview of ethical challenges associated with the use of force for political purposes. Drawing on historical and contemporary ideas and information, we consider whether, how and why ethical principles influence strategic and tactical decisions. The module is informed by ongoing research in the Department of Politics and International Relations (PAIR), and it complements other modules that explore global governance, global ethics, foreign and security policy, and military strategy.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Distinguish between, and engage in, deontological and consequentialist modes of ethical reasoning
- Identify, analyse and critique the ethical assumptions underpinning political communities’ military policies and practices.
- Evaluate and generate ideas for responding ethically to the challenges of potential and ongoing wars.
- Identify and explain relationships between ethical principles and the use of force
- Demonstrate empirical knowledge and ethical awareness of a range of military practices and technologies.
- Critically assess the applicability of Just War principles to past and present conflicts.
Drawing on ideas and information from within and beyond the discipline of International Relations, Ethics of War explores three overlapping dimensions of ‘just war’ thinking: ad bellum (going to war), in bello (the conduct of war) and post bellum (the aftermath of war). A series of interactive lectures and group-based tutorials addresses key themes including: moral philosophy and ethical reasoning, pacifist ethics, Just War theory, international law and the use of force, self-defence, humanitarian interventions, non-combatant immunity, nuclear weapons, inhumane and 'non-lethal' weapons, military medical ethics, intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism, torture, post-war justice, drones and robots, space-based war, and military virtue.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Student learning will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, group-based tutorial discussions and debates, and independent study. Learning activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical thinking, intellectual autonomy, and evidence-based argument.
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Textbooks. Resource type: Background textbook Alex J. Bellamy, Just Wars: From Cicero to Iraq, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006. Resource type: Background textbook Ian Clark, Waging War: A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. Resource type: Background textbook C. A. J. Coady, Morality and Political Violence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Resource type: Background textbook Jean Bethke Elshtain, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, New York: Basic Books, 2003. Resource type: Background textbook Christian Enemark, Armed Drones and the Ethics of War: Military Virtue in a Post-Heroic Age, London: Routledge, 2014. Resource type: Background textbook David Fisher, Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-First Century?, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Resource type: Background textbook David Fisher, Morality and War: Can War be Just in the Twenty-First Century?, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Resource type: Background textbook Colin S. Gray, ‘Moral Advantage, Strategic Advantage?’, Journal of Strategic Studies 33, no. 3 (2010): 333-65. Resource type: Background textbook Steven P. Lee, Ethics and War: An Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Resource type: Background textbook Brian Orend, The Morality of War, Peterborough: Broadview, 2006. Resource type: Background textbook Brian Rappert, Non-Lethal Weapons as Legitimizing Forces? Technology, Politics and the Management of Conflict, London: Frank Cass, 2003. Resource type: Background textbook Torbjörn Tännsjö, Understanding Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory, 2nd ed., Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. Resource type: Background textbook Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: a Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, 4th ed., New York: Basic Books, 2006.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External