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The Ethics of War

2. Just War vs. Realism

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Just War vs. Realism


War has always been a feature of human history. It is reviled as one of the great evils of which we are capable as a species, but often also commemorated and recounted as honourable and just. War raises many difficult moral questions, and this sample course aims to consider a few of them. Is warfare susceptible to moral analysis? If so, under what conditions is war justifiable given the human suffering it inevitably inflicts? If the cause of a war is just, why should we limit the means by which victory is pursued? What changes have recent international conflicts brought to the study and moral evaluation of warfare? By the end of this course you will be familiar with the main theories in the ethics of war, as well as the new and old questions that continue to fuel debate.


Michael Gibb is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Oxford University. His primary research is in the field of ethics and questions of what we owe to each other. He is also interested in applying the study of ethics to practical problems such as articulating and defending universal human rights and promoting international criminal justice. He therefore enjoys working closely with a number of non-governmental organisations, and regularly takes part in their projects. This has included documenting post-election violence in Kenya; promoting access to international institutions from Abkhazia; and working with women’s groups, security forces, and reconciliation initiatives in Iraq.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gibb, M. (2018, August 15). The Ethics of War - Just War vs. Realism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gibb, M. "The Ethics of War – Just War vs. Realism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Feb 2019,