A Hobbesian Approach to Cruelty and the Rules of War Featured

Hobbes is normally thought to be one of the most notorious defenders of the view that during war there are no rules. During war the strongest should prevail, and in this sense might makes right. If we follow this interpretation, then Hobbes would not recognize general moral rules governing the conduct of war, especially rules concerning cruelty in the use of violent force during war. Yet, this is by no means obvious in a careful reading of Hobbes. Indeed, I will claim that Hobbes, like Grotius before him, recognizes rules of war and gives us a good start at a plausible view of universally applicable jus in bello rules. As will become clear, a Hobbesian approach to the rules of war sees these rules as grounded in the idea that unnecessary or superfluous harm should not be inflicted. Such an understanding of the basis of the rules of war does not recognize exceptions even for those who fight on the side of a war that is clearly only defending itself and where the other side of a war is engaging in aggression...
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