The Ethics of War [CANCELLED]

Please note: This page refers to a course that has already taken place.

26 - 29 May 2020

UiO, Department of Philosophy Classics History of Art and Ideas, Blindern Campus

Marte Nilsen:

Equals 5 ECTS (with approved essay) according to standards of the University of Oslo

Gregory Reichberg:

Jeff McMahan: Professor at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford.

Gregory Reichberg, Research Professor at PRIO 

​Due to emergency measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19, this course has unfortunately been CANCELLED.

This course will provide a general introduction to the main approaches within just war theory and explore in detail several contested issues under debate, such as: Under what circumstances is it permissible to initiate a war? How should we understand the notion of proportionality? What is the role of blame to liability to defensive harm? What is the ethical impact of new military technologies, especially AI? Do combatants on either side of the war have the same moral status?  Who incurs a duty of compensation to the victims of war, and what does it consist in? Is it permissible to impose collateral damage to save important cultural heritage? Are non-combatants always illegitimate targets in war? What is the role of ‘legitimate authority’ in political violence? In what ways does terrorism differ from war?

The course is organised at the Univeristy of Oslo, Department of  Philosophy Classics History of Art and Ideas, in collaboration with the Research School on Peace and Conflict.



No prior knowledge of just war theory will be assumed, but participants will be expected to do the set reading in advance. The course will be delivered by a combination of interactive lectures and reading group-style seminars, based on readings circulated before the start of the course.

​​Upon full participation and the satisfactory completion of a course essay, the course equals 5 ECTS according to the standards of the University of Oslo. Participants must get an overview of the readings, participate actively in the lectures and submit a course essay that is marked as "pass". 


​Applications can be sent to Maria Seim at the Uinversity of Oslo:

A short letter of intent will be sufficient, provided it contains the basic educational information (current affiliation, if any, degrees to date).