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War and Moral Dissonance

  • Date Published: October 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521169035


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About the Authors
  • This collection of essays, inspired by the author's experience teaching ethics to Marine and Navy chaplains during the Iraq War, examines the moral and psychological dilemmas posed by war. The first section deals directly with Dr Peter A. French's teaching experience and the specific challenges posed by teaching applied and theoretical ethics to men and women wrestling with the immediate and personal moral conflicts occasioned by the dissonance of their duties as military officers with their religious convictions. The following chapters grew out of philosophical discussions with these chaplains regarding specific ethical issues surrounding the Iraq War, including the nature of moral evil, forgiveness, mercy, retributive punishment, honour, torture, responsibility and just war theory. This book represents a unique viewpoint on the philosophical problems of war, illuminating the devastating toll combat experiences take on both an individual's sense of identity and a society's professed moral code.

    • An internationally known philosopher's memoir of teaching ethics to Navy and Marine chaplains during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
    • Includes a new analysis of why interrogational torture is immoral and an analysis of traditional and revised just war theory in the cyber age
    • Presents a defense of using a metaverse such as Second Life to provide a meaningful existence for casualties of war
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Where this book should be studied is in preparation for command; it does provide a wonderful insight into the fragility of the human condition both in terms of witnessing the horrors of modern warfare and how even disciplined western militaries contain individuals who will revert to the basest of human behaviour given the slightest justification … For the Naval reader who lacks combat experience ashore this book does provide an alternative viewpoint on how difficult the last decade has been on our Army and Marine colleagues. Theirs have been wars of death, dirt and dissonance; the results of which can be found in these pages as the author describes torture, murder and disobedience from the lens of the confessional, last rites or slit trench.' Dave Mugridge, The Naval Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521169035
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The two-collar conflict: a philosopher's memoir of the Iraq War
    2. Our better angels have broken wings: human nature and the nature of evil
    3. Responsibility for innocence lost
    4. Virtuous responses to moral evil
    5. Assessing attempts at moral originality
    6. Public and private honor, shame, and the appraising audience
    7. Torture
    8. Community and worthwhile living in Second Life
    9. Of merels and morals: musts and oughts
    10. Inference gaps in moral assessment: individuals, organizations, and institutions
    11. Blaming whole populations: the American people and the Iraq War
    12. The moral challenge of collective memories
    13. Corporate responsibility and punishment redux
    14. Mission creep.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • War & Peace: Catholic Perspectives
  • Author

    Peter A. French, Arizona State University
    Dr Peter A. French is the Lincoln Chair in Ethics, Professor of Philosophy and the Director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University. He is the author of twenty books including, most recently, Ethics and College Sports (2004), The Virtues of Vengeance (2001) and Cowboy Metaphysics: Ethics and Death in Westerns (1997). He is a senior and founding editor of Midwest Studies in Philosophy and his articles have appeared in numerous philosophical and legal journals.

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