Justifying War: Proportion of the Good and Harm

Hurka argues that a state may only go to war if the good to be achieved by the war is proportional to the harm done by war but that not all goods and not all harms count in determining whether the war is justified. Explain and assess his argument.

To answer this question, use either Kamm’s example of the Taliban women or Hurka’s example of the Falklands war. Choose only one. Would the use of force (or the use of force by others to assist them) qualify as proportionate? Does this count in favor or against Hurka’s analysis? Assume for purposes of argument that the facts are as Kamm or Hurka describe them; the point of using the example is to bring the conceptual and normative questions into sharper focus, not to offer policy advice to governments considering intervention.