AFTERWORD: A Concluding Reflection on Military Ethical Decision-Making

David Whetham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

In his concluding reflections, David Whetham emphasizes the importance of the task that Baker, Black, Herbert, and King have addressed in this volume and highlights areas of agreement and divergence among the authors. With Russia’s immoral and illegal invasion of Ukraine as a backdrop to the book’s publication, Whetham calls attention to the geopolitical risks of unethical conduct in war and the need for soldiers and statesmen to get ethics right. This sentiment, Whetham offers, is shared by each of the authors. The authors are also in agreement with their commitment to the principles of the Just War Tradition, which, in turn, demands a commitment to each of the three mainstream approaches to ethics that dominate Western moral theory: deontology, consequentialism, and virtue ethics. The authors disagree, however, on how best to determine what actions these moral considerations demand in any given situation. Generally, Black and King propose comprehensive theories that attend to each moral factor without requiring three distinct analyses. Baker and Herbert, by contrast, advocate for sequential decision-making strategies with an emphasis on practical wisdom as the final arbiter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics at War How
Subtitle of host publicationShould Military Personnel Make Ethical Decisions?
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Pages152-155
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781003830252
ISBN (Print)9781032321219
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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