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Weighing Lives in War$
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Jens David Ohlin, Larry May, and Claire Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198796176.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Weighing Lives in War

Jens David Ohlin

Larry May

Claire Finkelstein

Oxford University Press

This volume brings to bear philosophical analysis and normative legal theory to study the value of lives in war. There is already a well-established literature regarding the lives of civilians, but the lives of combatants have generally received far less attention in both the legal and philosophical literatures. Consequently, this volume aims to consider both questions together, analyzing questions of methodology, legal doctrine, and philosophical commitments. The arguments outlined in this volume reveal a set of principles, including necessity and proportionality, whose core essence remains essentially contested. From the secure viewpoint of the purely descriptive, lawyers might confidently describe some of these questions as settled. But many others, even from the vantage point of descriptive theory, remain under-analyzed and radically lacking in clarity and certainty. The results of this collective investigation open up a new research programme regarding the legal and the ethical regulation of war, specifically how the lives of combatants and civilians alike are valued, weighed, balanced, and protected.

Keywords:   combatants, civilians, distinction, necessity, proportionality

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