Supreme Emergencies Without the Bad Guys

Sandin, Per
March 2009
Philosophia;Mar2009, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p153
Academic Journal
This paper discusses the application of the supreme emergency doctrine from just-war theory to non-antagonistic threats. Two versions of the doctrine are considered: Michael Walzer’s communitarian version and Brian Orend’s prudential one. I investigate first whether the doctrines are applicable to non-antagonistic threats, and second whether they are defensible. I argue that a version of Walzer’s doctrine seems to be applicable to non-antagonistic threats, but that it is very doubtful whether the doctrine is defensible. I also argue that Orend’s version of the doctrine is applicable to non-antagonistic threats, but that his account is not defensible, regardless of whether the threats are antagonistic or not.


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