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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Postgraduate Course: War and Morality (PLIT11011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course addresses the following kinds of critical question. Under what conditions, if any, is a country morally entitled to go to war? Only to defend itself against aggression by others, or to further some of the legitimate goals of a nationally self-determining country? Is humanitarian intervention merely permissible or, in some cases, mandatory as well?
Course description Under what conditions, if any, is a country morally entitled to go to war? Only to defend itself against aggression by others, or to further some of the legitimate goals of a nationally self-determining country? Is humanitarian intervention merely permissible or, in some cases, mandatory as well? Once a country is engaged in a just war, can its leaders do whatever it takes to shorten the war, or are they constrained by moral rules, most notably pertaining to the killing of civilians? If it is sometimes permissible to kill civilians, is it permissible to do so however one wishes, or is the use of certain kinds of weapons, i.e. weapons of mass destruction, morally ruled out? Is it indeed the case that there can be no possible justification for terrorism? Finally, once the war is over, how should the parties behave towards each other? We constantly have to reflect upon these questions: as citizens of countries which are engaged in wars we deem just, and as witnesses of wars waged by other countries. This course will enable students to examine them from the standpoint of moral and political philosophy.

This course aims to:
introduce students to key ethical debates in international politics;
provide a working knowledge of theoretical approaches to the study of war.

Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:
critically engage with contemporary debates about international justice;
identify future directions and challenges in the theory of the just war.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesAs above.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  33
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by one mid-term (50%) and one final essay (50%) of no more than 2000 words each, including footnotes and excluding bibliography. You must choose a question from the list provided below. The essays should be typed, in a decent size font (minimum 11pt), and with decent spacing (at least 1.5.) You should include a properly referenced list of works cited at the end. The formal correctness of your paper is highly important for successful completion of this course.
Feedback Each student will receive detailed feedback on their essays.

The following are the criteria through by the essay will be marked. However, it is important to note that the overall mark is a result of a holistic assessment of the assignment in its entirety.

1. Does the essay address the question set, and with sufficient focus?
2. Does the essay show a grasp of the relevant concepts and knowledge?
3. Does the essay demonstrate a logical and effective pattern of argument?
4. Does the essay, if appropriate, support arguments with relevant, accurate and effective forms of evidence?
5. Does the essay demonstrate reflexivity and critical thinking in relation to arguments and evidence?
6. Is the essay adequately presented in terms of: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style?
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Read and analyse major texts and articles in just war theory.
  2. Use analytical tools and concepts which are crucial both to evaluating the ethics of war and to moral and political philosophy more generally.
  3. Learn to use historical, factual examples in support of normative, philosophical claims.
Learning Resources
Each week has specific readings, but there is a number of fundamental texts that are crucial for this course.

Core Texts in Just War Theory
┐ A. J. Coates, The Ethics of War (Manchester University Press, 1997).
┐ Mark Evans, Just War Theory: A Reappraisal (Edinburgh: EUP, 2005).
┐ CÚcile Fabre, Cosmopolitan War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
┐ Cian O┐Driscoll, The Renegotiation of the Just War Tradition and the Right to War in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
┐ Nicholas Rengger, Just War and International Order: The Uncivil Condition in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
┐ Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, (New York: Basic Books, 2006, 4th edition) [This book is essential for the course and it is strongly suggested you buy it.]

Just War in Classical Political Thought
┐ Alex J. Bellamy, Just Wars: From Cicero to Iraq (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006).
┐ Michael W. Brough, John W. Lango, and Harry Van der Linden, eds., Rethinking the Just War Tradition, SUNY Series, Ethics and the Military Profession (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007).
┐ Karma Nabulsi, Traditions of War: Occupation, Resistance and the Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
┐ Richard Tuck, Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Book-Lengths Treatments of the Ethics of War
There is a voluminous literature on the ethics of war. The following are good, useful book-length treatments, which cover some or most of the relevant issues.
┐ Alex Bellamy, Just Wars (Polity Press, 2006).
┐ Ian Clark, Waging War: A Philosophical Introduction (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990).
┐ James Turner Johnson, Morality and Contemporary Warfare (Yale University Press, 1999).
┐ Terry Nardin, ed., The Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
┐ Richard Norman, Ethics, Killing and War (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
┐ Charles Reed and David Ryall, eds., The Price of Peace: Just War in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
┐ Paul Robinson, ed., Just War in Comparative Perspective (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003).
┐ David Rodin, War and Self-Defense (Oxford University Press, 2002).
┐ Michael Walzer, Arguing about War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

Key concepts and issues in political theory (with a focus on international issues):
┐ Chris Brown, Sovereignty, Rights, and Justice: International Political Theory Today (Cambridge: Polity, 2002).
┐ CÚcile Fabre, Justice in a Changing World (Cambridge: Polity, 2007).
┐ Kimberly Hutchings, International Political Theory (London: Sage, 1999).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The course will be taught in a weekly two-hour seminar.

Among the formats we will use to structure the seminar are:
┐ student presentations
┐ class debates
┐ interpretive exercises
KeywordsJust War theory,humanitarian intervention,proportionality,transitional justice.
Course organiserDr Mathias Thaler
Tel: (0131 6)51 5769
Course secretaryMrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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