Dehumanization, lesser evil and the supreme emergency exemption

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Yitzhak Benbaji


Many believe that if the indiscriminate bombings of German cities at the beginning of World War II were necessary for preventing unlimited spread of Nazism, then the bombings were justified. For, the outcome, in which innocent Germans living in Nazi Germany are killed, was not as bad as the outcome in which the Nazis inflict ethnic cleansing and enslavement on a massive scale. Recently, however, Daniel Statman has advanced a powerful case against this type of justification. I aim in this paper to develop an enriched version of consequentialism which rescues the "lesser evil elucidation" of the Exemption.


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BENBAJI, Y. Dehumanization, lesser evil and the supreme emergency exemption. Diametros, n. 23, p. 5-21, 1 Sep. 2010.
Special topic – The ethics of war
Author Biography

Yitzhak Benbaji

Bar-Ilan University and Shalom Hartman Institute
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