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Instructor: Zach Thornton. This course meets MTWRF 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. via remote synchronous (RS) instruction.

General William Tecumseh Sherman famously remarked that “war is hell.” But if “war is hell,” is it ever be morally permissible (or even morally required) to initiate a war? If so, when? After a war has begun, what sorts of conduct are morally permissible? After the war is over, what does justice require of the victors, and what do societies owe to their returning veterans? In this course we will carefully consider such questions, in addition to related issues such as terrorism, torture, the prosecution of war crimes, and drone warfare.
This is an introductory course on the ethics of peace, war, and defense. In this course, we will read and critically engage with the above questions from a philosophical and ethical perspective. Our primary goal will be to deepen our moral understanding of war and actions within war.

Students will learn about this material by engaging with their peers in class discussions, writing essays, and sharing/receiving peer feedback. This course presupposes no background in philosophy, military history, or international law. Students must be prepared to read carefully and write thoughtfully. Intellectual curiosity and the ability to engage with your peers in open and respectful dialogue are required.