The Moral Distinction Between Combatants and Noncombatants: Vulnerable and Defenceless
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In Sparing Civilians, Seth Lazar claims that in war, with rare exceptions, killing noncombatants is worse than killing combatants. This paper raises some doubts about whether this is an important principle – at least, once we understand Lazar’s clarifications. It also suggests that however it is clarified, it seems false. And it suggests a related principle that more plausible. This related principle applies only to those with just aims, and it applies only to intentional killing rather than to all forms of killing.
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