Moral Victories: The Ethics of Winning Wars

Andrew Hom (Editor), Cian O'Driscoll (Editor), Kurt Mills (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

What does it mean to win a moral victory? Ideals of just and decisive triumphs often colour the call to war, yet victory is an increasingly dubious proposition in modern conflict, where negotiated settlements and festering violence have replaced formal surrenders. In the Just War and strategic studies traditions, assumptions about victory also underpin decisions to go to war but become more problematic in discussions about its conduct and conclusion. So although winning is typically considered the very object of war, we lack a clear understanding of victory itself. Likewise, we lack reliable resources for discerning a just from an unjust victory, for balancing the duty to fight ethically with the obligation to win, and for assessing the significance of changing ways of war for moral judgment.

Though not amenable to easy answers, these important questions are both perennial and especially urgent. This book brings together a group of leading scholars from various disciplines to tackle them. It covers both traditions of victory – charting the historically variable notion of victory and the dialogues and fissures this opens in the just war and strategic canons – along with contemporary challenges of victory – analysing how new security contexts put pressure on these fissures and working toward clearer ideas about victory today. The result is a wide-ranging and timely collection of essays that bridges the gap between ethical, strategic, and historical approaches to war and develops new ways of thinking about it as a practical and moral proposition. It will be of interest to students and scholars of the just war tradition, international relations and security studies, and strategic studies; as well as military professionals and political practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Print)9780198801825
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • war
  • ethics
  • International Relations
  • International Political Theory
  • just war theory


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