Jeff McMahan - Pacyfizm i teoria moralna (Pacifism and Moral Theory)

"“Pacifism” is used to refer to a variety of different doctrines concerning violence
and war. It can refer to the view that all violence is wrong, even in individual
self-defense, or in defense of another innocent person. More commonly, it refers
to the view that both the resort to war and individual participation in war are
wrong. One could thus be a “war-specific” pacifist while accepting that violence
can be permissible in individual self- or other-defense. Traditionally, however,
pacifism as a doctrine about war has taken an absolutist form – that is, it has been
understood as the view that war could never, in any circumstances, be morally
justified. And it is difficult to reconcile an absolutist prohibition of war with the
view that violence, and perhaps even killing, can be permissible in at least some
cases of individual self-defense. For a large enough number of acts of individual
self- and other-defense by people who are all citizens of the same state can together
constitute a war. Absolute pacifism about war must, it seems, be based on
an absolute prohibition of a certain act-type, such as the intentional killing of a
human being.
The most plausible form of pacifism, in my view, is based on a non-absolute
prohibition of knowingly killing an innocent person. It appeals to the idea that
there is an extremely strong moral constraint against acting in a way that one foresees
will kill an innocent person. Although the constraint is not absolute, the
threshold at which it can be overridden by conflicting moral considerations is very
high. According to this view, it can be permissible knowingly to kill an innocent
person only if the consequences of not doing so would be vastly worse. For the
killing of an innocent person to be permissible, in other words, it must be necessary
for the prevention of an outcome that would be vastly worse..."...

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