This remarkably rich collection of articles focuses on moral questions about war. The essays, originally published in Philosophy & Public Affairs, cover a wide range of topics from several points of view by writers from the fields of political science, philosophy, and law. The discussion of war and moral responsibility falls into three general categories: problems of political and military choice, problems about the relation of an individual to the actions of his government, and more abstract ethical questions as well.
The first category includes questions about the ethical and legal aspects of war crimes and the laws of war; about the source of moral restrictions on military methods or goals; and about differences in suitability of conduct which may depend on differences in the nature of the opponent. The second category includes questions about the conditions for responsibility of individual soldiers and civilian officials for war crimes, and about the proper attitude of a government toward potential conscripts who reject its military policies. The third category includes disputes between absolutist, deontological, and utilitarian ethical theories, and deals with questions about the existence of insoluble moral dilemmas
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Marshall Cohen: