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Seth Lazar [19]Seth R. . M. Lazar [1]
  1.  97
    Moral Sunk Costs.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Suppose that you are trying to pursue a morally worthy goal, but cannot do so without incurring some moral costs. At the outset, you believed that achieving your goal was worth no more than a given moral cost. And suppose that, time having passed, you have wrought only harm and injustice, without advancing your cause. You can now reflect on whether to continue. Your goal is within reach. What's more, you believe you can achieve it by incurring—from this point forward—no (...)
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  2.  73
    Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Many of us think we have agent-centred options to act suboptimally. Some of these involve favouring our own interests. Others involve sacrificing them. In this paper, I explore three different ways to accommodate agent-centred options in a criterion of objective permissibility. I argue against satisficing and rational pluralism, and in favour of a principle built around sensitivity to personal cost.
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  3.  48
    Moral Status and Agent-Centred Options.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-23.
    If we were required to sacrifice our own interests whenever doing so was best overall, or prohibited from doing so unless it was optimal, then we would be mere sites for the realisation of value. Our interests, not ourselves, would wholly determine what we ought to do. We are not mere sites for the realisation of value — instead we, ourselves, matter unconditionally. So we have options to act suboptimally. These options have limits, grounded in the very same considerations. Though (...)
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  4.  38
    Limited Aggregation and Risk.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - Philosophy and Public Affairs.
    Many of us believe (1) Saving a life is more important than averting any number of headaches. But what about risky cases? Surely: (2) In a single choice, if the risk of death is low enough, and the number of headaches at stake high enough, one should avert the headaches rather than avert the risk of death. And yet, if we will face enough iterations of cases like that in (2), in the long run some of those small risks of (...)
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  5. The Responsibility Dilemma for Killing in War: A Review Essay.Seth Lazar - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (2):180-213.
    Killing in War presents the Moral Equality of Combatants with serious, and in my view insurmountable problems. Absent some novel defense, this thesis is now very difficult to sustain. But this success is counterbalanced by the strikingly revisionist implications of McMahan’s account of the underlying morality of killing in war, which forces us into one of two unattractive positions, contingent pacifism, or near-total war. In this article, I have argued that his efforts to mitigate these controversial implications fail. The reader (...)
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  6.  30
    Just War Theory: Revisionists Vs Traditionalists.Seth Lazar - 2017 - Annual Review of Political Science 20:37-54.
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  7. Scepticism About Jus Post Bellum.Seth Lazar - 2012 - In Larry May & Andrew Forcehimes (eds.), Morality, Jus Post Bellum, and International Law. Cambridge University Press.
    The burgeoning literature on jus post bellum has repeatedly reaffirmed three positions that strike me as deeply implausible: that in the aftermath of wars, compensation should be a priority; that we should likewise prioritize punishing political leaders and war criminals even in the absence of legitimate multilateral institutions; and that when states justifiably launch armed humanitarian interventions, they become responsible for reconstructing the states into which they have intervened – the so called “Pottery Barn” dictum, “You break it, you own (...)
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  8. Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter?Seth Lazar - 2009 - Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (1):90-101.
    Associative duties are non-contractual duties owed in virtue of a valuable relationship. They hold between lovers, family members, friends, and perhaps compatriots. General duties, by contrast, are owed to people simply in virtue of their humanity: they are grounded in each person’s great and equal moral worth. In this paper, I ask what should be done when we can perform either an associative duty or a general duty, but not both.
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  9. Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War.Seth Lazar - 2013 - Journal of Practical Ethics 1 (1):3-48.
    this paper advances a novel account of part of what justifies killing in war, grounded in the duties we owe to our loved ones to protect them from the severe harms with which war threatens them. It discusses the foundations of associative duties, then identifies the sorts of relationships, and the specific duties that they ground, which can be relevant to the ethics of war. It explains how those associa- tive duties can justify killing in theory—in particular how they can (...)
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  10.  26
    Evaluating the Revisionist Critique of Just War Theory.Seth Lazar - 2017 - Daedalus 146 (1):113-124.
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  11. Necessity in Self-Defense and War.Seth Lazar - 2012 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (1):3-44.
    It is generally agreed that using lethal or otherwise serious force in self-defense is justified only when three conditions are satisfied: first, there are some grounds for the defender to give priority to his own interests over those of the attacker (whether because the attacker has lost the protection of his right to life, for example, or because of the defender’s prerogative to prefer himself to others); second, the harm used is proportionate to the threat thereby averted; third, the harm (...)
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  12.  24
    Proxy Battles in the Ethics of War.Seth Lazar & Laura Valentini - 2017 - In David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3. London, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
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  13. The Morality and Law of War.Seth Lazar - 2012 - In Andrei Marmor (ed.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Law. Routledge. pp. 364.
    The revisionist critique of conventional just war theory has undoubtedly scored some important victories. Walzer’s elegantly unified defense of combatant legal equality and noncombatant immunity has been seriously undermined. This critical success has not, however, been matched by positive arguments, which when applied to the messy reality of war would deprive states and soldiers of the permission to fight wars that are plausibly thought to be justified. The appeal to law that is sought to resolve this objection by casting it (...)
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  14. The Justification of Associative Duties.Seth Lazar - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):28-55.
    People often think that their special relationships with family, friends, comrades and compatriots, can ground moral reasons. Among these reasons, they understand some to be duties – pro tanto requirements that have genuine weight when they conflict with other considerations. In this paper I ask: what is the underlying moral structure of associative duties? I first consider and reject the orthodox Teleological Welfarist account, which first observes that special relationships are fundamental for human well-being, then claims that we cannot have (...)
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  15. Necessity and Non-Combatant Immunity.Seth Lazar - 2013 - Review of International Studies (Firstview Online) 1 (1).
    The principle of non-combatant immunity protects non-combatants against intentional attacks in war. It is the most widely endorsed and deeply held moral constraint on the conduct of war. And yet it is difficult to justify. Recent developments in just war theory have undermined the canonical argument in its favour – Michael Walzer's, in Just and Unjust Wars. Some now deny that non-combatant immunity has principled foundations, arguing instead that it is entirely explained by a different principle: that of necessity. In (...)
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  16. Corrective Justice and the Possibility of Rectification.Seth R. M. Lazar - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):355-368.
    In this paper, I ask how - and whether - the rectification of injury at which corrective justice aims is possible, and by whom it must be performed. I split the injury up into components of harm and wrong, and consider their rectification separately. First, I show that pecuniary compensation for the harm is practically plausible, because money acts as a mediator between the damaged interest and other interests. I then argue that this is also a morally plausible approach, because (...)
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  17. National Defence, Self Defence, and the Problem of Political Aggression.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - In Seth Lazar & Cécile Fabre (eds.), The Morality of Defensive War. Oxford University press. pp. 10-38.
    Wars are large-scale conflicts between organized groups of belligerents, which involve suffering, devastation, and brutality unlike almost anything else in human experience. Whatever one’s other beliefs about morality, all should agree that the horrors of war are all but unconscionable, and that warfare can be justified only if we have some compel- ling account of what is worth fighting for, which can justify contributing, as individu- als and as groups, to this calamitous endeavour. Although this question should obviously be central (...)
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  18.  67
    Risky Killing: How Risks Worsen Violations of Objective Rights.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    I argue that riskier killings of innocent people are, other things equal, objectively worse than less risky killings. I ground these views in considerations of disrespect and security. Killing someone more riskily shows greater disrespect for him by more grievously undervaluing his standing and interests, and more seriously undermines his security by exposing a disposition to harm him across all counterfactual scenarios in which the probability of killing an innocent person is that high or less. I argue that the salient (...)
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  19. A Liberal Defence of (Some) Duties to Compatriots.Seth Lazar - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (3):246-257.
    This paper asks whether we can defend associative duties to our compatriots that are grounded solely in the relationship of liberal co-citizenship. The sort of duties that are especially salient to this relationship are duties of justice, duties to protect and improve the institutions that constitute that relationship, and a duty to favour the interests of compatriots over those of foreigners. Critics have argued that the liberal conception of citizenship is too insubstantial to sustain these duties — indeed, that it (...)
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  20. The Nature and Disvalue of Injury.Seth Lazar - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (3):289-304.
    This paper explicates a conception of injury as right-violation, which allows us to distinguish between setbacks to interests that should, and should not, be the concern of theories of justice. It begins by introducing a hybrid theory of rights, grounded in (a) the mobilisation of our moral equality to (b) protect our most important interests, and shows how violations of rights are the concern of justice, while setbacks where one of the twin grounds of rights is defeated are not. It (...)
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