The whole of human history includes bloody and brutal wars. Wars inevitably raise not only historical, social scientific and pragmatic questions but also profoundly ethical ones: is war ever justified? Is it ethical to kill non-combatants? When is it legitimate to intervene in another country's affairs? Is a volunteer army morally preferable to a military draft? What does patriotism mean in a time of war? What are the ethics of war reporting? What are the ethics of dealing with counter-insurgencies? Who has responsibility for dealing with the aftermath of war? How should we assess post conflict measures to redress the harms of war?
It is impossible to think of wars without thinking about right and wrong. Nonetheless, the study of the ethical issues raised by wars is rarely dealt with in the college curriculum. To address these questions, especially pressing at a time in which the United States is engaged in combat, a number of departments and programs at Stanford are joining together to sponsor a series on Ethics and War. This series, now in its second year, features philosophers, writers, journalists, historians, social scientists, human rights activists, and policy makers who grapple with the hard moral questions raised by wars. Our hope is to stimulate campus wide discussion and reflection, and research and engagement, on the ethical considerations involved in the decision to go to war, the conduct of war and the aftermath of war.
2011-2012 events and event details will be posted as they are finalized.
All Ethics and War events are open to the public and free unless noted. That said, some events will require an advance reservation. Please check the Ethics & War Series website to see if the event you're interested in requires a reservation.