Just a War Theory? American Public Opinion on Ethics in Military Combat

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 -
4:15pm to 6:00pm


Maginnes 113

Benjamin Valentino is an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. His research interests include the causes and consequences of violent conflict and American foreign and security policies. His work focuses on public opinion on the use of force, civilian and military casualties in interstate wars and developing early warning models of large-scale violence against civilians.

The philosophical tradition known collectively as “just war theory” remains the most influential source of ideas about the ethics of war, at least in Western societies.  Just war doctrine also provides the basis for most extant international humanitarian law governing the conduct of war.  Yet we know almost nothing about the extent to which the public’s views on the use of force are consistent with just war doctrine’s key principles.  In this lecture, Professor Valentino will explore the American public’s views on the ethics of war using data collected from a series of original public opinion surveys.