Oh, if only this were true — philosophers would have jobs…
Some people think that the term “ethical war” is impossible — or an oxymoron.. I think this position is preposterous… but, then again I’m a just war theorist —
I think that it’s vital to have ethical constraints on action, and the more likely the action is to harm or kill others, the more restrictive those constraints should be.
It seems to me that a good ethical theory ought to ground the ethics of warfare, and not the other way around.
Think about it this way, there are two directions these principles could be developed — one alternative is to look at history, figure out what principles seemed to be and which ones seemed to work, and work backwards to what the principles should be.
The other option is to select an ethical theory and build the principles based on that theory. The advantage is that, if the principles don’t provide an answer, the ethical theory can help. It also doesn’t have to be the case that you do a lot of historical interpretation or revision…
So — my version of just war theory is based on W.D. Ross’ prima facie duties theory — and then I created the set of just war norms from there.