Ethics and War: Avishai Margalit (Institute for Advanced Study)

Thu March 8th 2012, 5:30pm
Event Sponsor
McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
Annenberg Auditorium, 435 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Ethics and War: Avishai Margalit (Institute for Advanced Study)

"Proportionality in War"~~~Abstract:  There are two important conditions that are designed to regulate a justified behavior in a war: Distinction (between combatants and civilians)and Proportionality. Margalit's claim is that proportionality in terms of human lives determines the seriousness by which the distinction between combatants and civilians is taken. There is another distinction: the distinction between “our citizens” and “enemy citizens”.  Its misuse helps to blur the imperative distinction between combatants and civilians.  Blurring the distinction between combatants and civilians erodes the much needed taboo on total wars. Total wars are wars without distinction, which means, wars of terror.Avishai Margalit is one of the foremost thinkers and commentators on the contemporary human condition, the moral issues of our time, and current problems facing Western societies. In addition to his influence as a philosopher, he is highly regarded for his profound and cogent observations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader struggle between Islam and the West. As the author of Idolatry (with Moshe Halbertal), The Decent SocietyViews in Review: Politics and Culture in the State of the JewsThe Ethics of MemoryOccidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (with Ian Buruma), and On Compromise and Rotten Compromises , Margalit has transformed philosophical perspectives on a range of political and societal issues.