Counterfactuals and the Proportionality Criterion

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Abstract

It is widely held that, in order for a resort to war or military force to be morally justified, it must, in addition to having a cause that is just, be proportionate. In this essay I argue for the need to use a counterfactual baseline when making the proportionality evaluation. Specifically, I argue that the relevant counterfactual baseline must contain a moral qualifier. In defending my proposal, I also contend that the relevant goods and harms that are weighed in the proportionality evaluation are not as open-ended as is sometimes presumed.

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