Killing in War

Killing in War

3.96 (82 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.96 (82 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Killing a person is in general among the most seriously wrongful forms of action, yet most of us accept that it can be permissible to kill people on a large scale in war. Does morality become more permissive in a state of war? Jeff McMahan argues that conditions in war make no difference to what morality permits and the justifications for killing people are the same in war as they are in other contexts, such as individual self-defence. This view is radically at odds
with the traditional theory of the just war and has implications that challenge common sense views. McMahan argues, for example, that it is wrong to fight in a war that is unjust because it lacks a just cause.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 136 x 214 x 17mm | 332g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 019960357X
  • 9780199603572
  • 346,042

Table of contents

1. The Morality of Participation in an Unjust War ; 2. Arguments for the Moral Equality of Combatants ; 3. Excuses ; 4. Liability and the Limits of Self-Defense ; 5. Civilian Immunity and Civilian Liability
show more

Review Text

Killing a person is in general among the most seriously wrongful forms of action, yet most of us...
show more

Review quote

McMahan's outstanding and readable book Killing in War.. . should help to quiet non-philosophers who dismiss Anglo-American philosophy for being esoteric and aloof, and philosophers who complain that little is happening in moral and political philosophy... He gives comprehensive arguments; he charitably formulates and conscientiously responds to objections. His conclusions might make many readers uncomfortable, but he arrives at them on the basis of moral
considerations that otherwise are not particularly controversial... [The book's] rigor, depth, and humanity are estimable. * Lionel K. McPherson, Mind * McMahan makes his arguments with the meticulous logical care of analytical philosophy reminiscent of Derek Parfit's path-breaking work, Reasons and Persons. Killing in War is a provocative contribution to contemporary philosophy and military ethics. * Benjamin Mitchell, The Journal of Politics * This is a good book, well-informed, carefully written and full of insight, scholarship and tough argument. It will certainly stimulate extensive debate amongst philosophers. * Tony Coady, Australian Book Review *
show more

About Jeff Mcmahan

Jeff McMahan is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He works primarily in ethics and political philosophy, and occasionally in metaphysics and legal theory.
show more

Rating details

82 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 30% (25)
4 43% (35)
3 22% (18)
2 2% (2)
1 2% (2)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X