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Subject of Legitimate Violence

Political Ethics and the Agents of Force

Armed police

Subject Areas:

This project investigates the idea of violence as a legitimate political instrument, morally justified for certain purposes but only or chiefly when applied by particular political agents. It takes debate beyond more narrowly ethical questions dominating Just War Theory by investigating their deeper conceptual structures and assumptions.

Drawing on intellectual history, it contextualizes contemporary ethics in the distinctive paradigms framing the idea of legitimate violence in modern political thought. The work will yield a rich and original theoretical framework within which to rethink the relationship between ethics and politics and critique the changing modes of violence in contemporary global politics.

Principal Investigator: Professor Christopher Finlay