'Political Authority and Unjust Wars' by Dr Massimo Renzo
Posted on 07/06/2018
Congratulations to Dr Massimo Renzo, whose paper has has recently appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Dr Renzo's paper "Political Authority and Unjust Wars", discusses what 'Just war theory' is currently dominated by two positions. According to the orthodox view (Walzer), provided that jus in bello principles are respected, combatants have an equal right to fight, regardless of the justice of the cause pursued by their state. According to “revisionists” (McMahan, Fabre) whenever combatants lack reasons to believe that the war they are ordered to fight is just, their duty is to disobey. Dr Renzo argues that when members of a legitimate state acting in good faith are ordered to fight, they acquire a pro‐tanto obligation to obey which does not depend for its validity on the justice of the cause being pursued. However, when the war is unjust, this obligation may be overridden, under certain conditions, by the obligation not to contribute to the unjustified killing of innocents. This is because (contra Raz) the pro‐tanto force of the duty to obey the law is best understood in terms of “presumptive”, rather than “exclusionary” reasons for action. This approach captures the insights of both the orthodox and the revisionist view, while avoiding the problems that afflict each of them.
The full paper can be found here.
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (PPR) is a bimonthly philosophy journal founded in 1940. It considers itself open to a variety of methodologies and traditions. No specific methodology or philosophical orientation is required in submissions." It is published by the International Phenomenological Society based at Brown University in Rhode Island, United States.
About Dr Massimo Renzo
Dr Massimo Renzo joined The Dickson Poon School of Law in July, 2015 as a Reader in Politics, Philosophy & Law. Previously he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick and before that, a Lecturer at the York Law School. He has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, the universities of Virginia and Arizona, the Centre for Ethics and Public Affairs at the Murphy Institute (Tulane University) and Osgoode Hall’s Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security. Dr Renzo is an affiliated researcher at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War & Peace and the Honorary Secretary of the Society for Applied Philosophy. He is also one of the editors of the journal Criminal Law and Philosophy.