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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 2, Fall 2000

Gabriel Palmer-Fernández
Pages 161-174

Innocence in War

Just war morality draws an important distinction between soldiers and civilians. Unlike soldiers, civilians may never be intentionally killed because they are innocent. But the prohibition on intentionally killing civilians cannot be adequately explained by the wrongness of killing the innocent. This paper examines several views on the meaning of innocence in war, exposes difficulties with each that warrant their rejection, and proposes an alternative view on the wrongness of killing civilians that is independent of the wrongness of killing the innocent. It concludes by noting some concerns with the proposed alternative.

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