Just and unjust distributions in war : the moral equality of combatants and the normative structure of war
Title: Just and unjust distributions in war : the moral equality of combatants and the normative structure of war
Author: MELLOR, Ewan Edward
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2017
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This develops a defence of the principle of the moral equality of combatants against recent revisionist critiques. It does this by developing an interpretive and hermeneutical approach to the study of war and the just war tradition. This approach allows the meanings of war and of actions within war to be explored and it is on the basis of this understanding of meaning that the moral equality of combatants is defended. It shows that these meanings and distinctions cannot be recognized by the revisionists and that this is a moral and interpretive loss. The thesis develops the argument of Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice and applies it to war; it demonstrates that war has a distinct meaning and that the principles for distributing identities, rights, and responsibilities in war are relative to this meaning. The thesis begins by exploring the history of the just war tradition and the evolution of the concept of combatancy and the distinction between combatants and non-combatants in order to demonstrate how the just war tradition constitutes war as an institution. It then explores the contemporary debate and argues that whilst the traditional defences of the principle of the moral equality of combatants have been found wanting, the conclusions of the revisionists need not be accepted. To demonstrate this, the following chapters study a number of examples that highlight important and meaningful contrasts associated with both the jus in bello and the jus ad bellum. The final chapter introduces the concept of the normative structure of war and argues that the right to participate and to kill in war depends upon a public relationship of duty between soldiers and the state. The reciprocal relationships of duty are the source of the moral equality of combatants.
Defence date: 5 April 2017; Examining Board: Professor Chris Reus-Smit, The University of Queensland, formerly EUI, (Supervisor); Professor Jennifer Welsh, EUI; Professor James Pattison, The University of Manchester; Professor Peter Sutch, Cardiff University
Type of Access: embargoedAccess