Michael Walzer on the Moral Legitimacy of States and the Morality of Killing in War
This thesis is divided into two chapters. In the first chapter, I analyze Michael Walzer's account of the moral legitimacy of states. In the second chapter, I analyze his account of the morality of killing in war. I begin the first chapter by contrasting Walzer's account of state legitimacy and humanitarian intervention with that of David Luban. Next, I develop a Rawlsian account of state legitimacy and humanitarian intervention and argue that this account is more plausible than both Walzer's and Luban's accounts.
The second chapter is divided into two parts. In the first part, I argue that Walzer's account of the distinction between combatants and noncombatants is misleading because it gives the impression that all and only infantry soldiers are combatants and that all and only civilians are noncombatants. In the second part of the second chapter, I describe an account of the morality of killing in war developed by Jeff McMahan that is based on an analogy with the morality of killing in domestic society and argue that this account is more plausible than Walzer's account of the morality of killing in war. I also suggest a way that McMahan's account could be improved.