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Consequentialism, War, and National Defense
Journal of International Political Theory (2014)
  • William H. Shaw, San Jose State University

What, if anything, grounds the right of national defense? This essay explicates and defends a consequentialist answer to that question. After explaining the relevance and importance of this project, I clarify the meaning of consequentialism and explain how consequentialists understand and justify rights, including the right of national defense. International law enshrines that right. After explaining why it is correct to do so and why that right should be upheld, I examine some issues that this right leaves unsettled and probe its moral limits. I then reply to several objections to a consequentialist approach to national defense, pursuing in particular the criticism that consequentialists cannot justify the Allies’ having taken up defensive arms against the Axis powers in World War II. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER] .

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  • war,
  • national defense
Publication Date
February, 2014
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
William H. Shaw. "Consequentialism, War, and National Defense" Journal of International Political Theory Vol. 10 Iss. 1 (2014)
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