required reading for anyone with a reflective interest in these issues. It is clearly and shrewdly argued throughout, insightful, provocative, and elegantly written. ( Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)
Rodin's discussion of war and of self-defence seeks to drive a wedge between the two ideas. The first part of the book presents a robust account of the moral justification for killing in self-defence. The second part argues, convincingly in my view, that waging war cannot be morally justified as a form of self-defence. ( Richard Norman, Journal of Applied Philosophy)
his critique of the rights-based theory of war as self-defence should be required reading for anyone concerned with questions about the morality of war. And in the current state of the world, that ought to mean everyone. ( Richard Norman, Journal of Applied Philosophy)
Nothing could be more timely . . . than a careful reconsideration of the relation between war and the self-defense of citizens. David Rodin's War and Self-Defense is everything such a book should be: a careful and learned exploration of the topic that resolves some long-standing issues while raising new questions and advancing new proposals for how to think about war. "A dispiriting level of confusion is often evident in both popular and philosophical-legal thought on the justice of war," he remarks midway through his study (p. 126). Rodin's is just the sort of work we need to address this problem. It will be a starting point for discussion of these topics in the future. ( Cheyney C. Ryan, Ethics and International Affairs 18/4, 2004)
illuminating and provocative ( Jeff McMahan, Ethics and International Affairs 18/4, 2004)
In War and Self-Defense David Rodin uncovers many flaws of current thinking about war. Rodin correctly points out that the justification of national self-defense goes beyond the justification of individual self-defense. He accurately rejects the standard notion of moral symmetry--the accepted view that both just and unjust warriors can permissibly kill enemies as long as they observe the laws of war. Rodin vindicates the right view: if a war is unjust, each and every injury caused by the unjust warrior is a criminal act. There are no morally justified killings by those who fight unjust wars. Further, Rodin rightly rejects various holistic theories of self-defense. Last but not least, he correctly denounces . . . the idea that tyrannical governments are worth defending against interventions aimed at deposing them because they are protected by the principle of sovereignty. ( Fernando R. Tesón, Ethics and International Affairs 18/4, 2004)
When is it right to go to war? The most persuasive answer to this question has always been 'in self-defense'. In a penetrating new analysis, bringing together moral philosophy, political science, and law, David Rodin shows what's wrong with this answer. He proposes a comprehensive new theory of the right of self-defense which resolves many of the perplexing questions that have dogged both jurists and moral philosophers. By applying the theory of self-defense to international relations, Rodin produces a far-reaching critique of the canonical Just War theory. The simple analogy between self-defense and national defense - between the individual and the state - needs to be fundamentally rethought, and with it many of the basic elements of international law and the ethics of international relations.
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