Fabre's Crusade for Justice: Why We Should Not Join

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Cosmopolitan War is characterized by a tension between moral demandingness and moral permissiveness. On the one hand, Fabre is strongly committed to the value of each and all human beings as precious individuals whose value does not depend on their national or other affiliation. This commitment leads to serious constraints on what may be done to others in both individual and national self-defense. Yet the book is also unambiguously permissive. It opens the gate to far more wars than traditional just war theory would ever permit, in particular to what Fabre has dubbed 'subsistence wars', and it rejects the most fundamental constraint imposed by traditional jus in bello, namely, the prohibition against the deliberate killing of civilians. While both the demanding and the permissive aspects of the book seem troublesome to me, the latter seem more so and most of my paper is devoted to a critical examination of them. In the last part of the paper, I point to a different outlook to the one defended in the book and try to show that this outlook is less foreign to Fabre's outlook than one might expect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-360
Number of pages24
JournalLaw and Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Law


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