Utilitarianism and the Ethics of War, written by William H. Shaw [Book Review]

Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (2):251-254 (2019)
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Utilitarianism has a fairly bad reputation in military ethics, mainly because it is thought to make military expedience override all other concerns. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a famous instance of such a skewed utilitarian calculation that “the rules of war and the rights they are designed to protect” should have stopped (Walzer 1992: 263-8). Most of its critics seem to think that utilitarianism is not bad per se, but prone to be misapplied in a self-serving way. That idea, William H. Shaw argues in his careful and mostly convincing defense of utilitarian thinking about the moral issues that war occasions, is misguided, as are most of the other common objections to utilitarian thinking about the moral issues war raises.
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