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Title: The ethics of war : a new individualist rights-based account of just cause and legitimate authority
Author: Pollard, Emily Lois
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 3655
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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My thesis focuses upon the ad bellum criteria of just cause and, to a lesser extent, legitimate authority. I begin by developing an account of the individual right to self-defence, grounded upon the individual right to lead a flourishing life, drawing upon Jeff McMahan’s and Judith Jarvis Thomson’s rights-based accounts of defence, and developing a dual account of liability to attack. I then outline a broadly individualist account of just cause, based upon this account of the individual right to defence. I explain what kinds of just causes for war would exist, based upon the delegation of individual defensive rights to a collective entity. Following this, I develop an asymmetrical account of the rights of combatants, based upon the dual account of liability. I argue that most unjust combatants are weakly liable, and I propose a general presumption of weak liability for both just and unjust combatants. I suggest that unjust combatants may therefore possess at least some rights of individual defence, but that just combatants have additional war rights resulting from taking part in a wider act of defence. Finally, I expand upon my argument concerning the delegation of individual defensive rights, by explaining which types of collective entity may receive delegated defensive rights and how such rights are delegated, and I also argue that collective entities which have been delegated individual defensive rights are therefore legitimate authorities, based upon a definition of legitimate authority as moral authority. Overall, my thesis aims to develop an individualist account of just cause, grounded upon the delegation of individual defensive rights to a collective entity, and to use my account to develop an asymmetric account of combatants’ rights and a rights-based account of legitimate authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available