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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2008

Ethics

Thomas Peard
Pages 341-347

Is There a Right of National Defense?

In his influential work War and Self-Defense, David Rodin ably challenges the view that the moral right of national defense can be grounded in the right of self-defense. He rejects the “reductive strategy” on which national defense is viewed as a “collective form” of self-defense. He also objects to the “analogical strategy” on which national defense is analogous, rather than reducible, to self-defense. Under the analogical strategy, the end of the right of national defense is the common life of the state. I argue that while Rodin has fully refuted the reductive strategy, there is a promising analogical strategy he overlooks for grounding national defense in self-defense. On this strategy the end of the right of national defense is not the common life of the state but the state itself. This strategy is wholly consistent with our pre-theoretical intuitions concerning the right of national defense.

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