PHIL 272.001 – The Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense

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Instructor: Yoaav Isaacs. This course meets MW 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. in DE 305.

When should you obliterate your enemies with your nuclear weapons? When should you think that your enemies are going to obliterate you with their nuclear weapons? Is there a moral difference between killing someone and allowing someone to be killed? Can war ever be just?

This course will address central topic in the philosophy of warfare. In it, you will analyze decisions made in war using tools from game theory and decision theory. (Don’t worry about mathematical complications––the problems we consider will make intuitive sense.) You will evaluate general ethical theories and their applications to the ethics of war. You will scrutinize major conflicts throughout history. And––most importantly of all––you will face off against your classmates in simulated nuclear wargames.