McMahan’s groundbreaking work in the fields of bioethics, population ethics, and the ethics of war and self-defence will need no introduction for many readers of this blog. During his stay, McMahan will be taking part in the intellectual life of the Philosophy Department, by participating in seminars, talking to staff and students about their work, and so forth. Most notably, on 30th May, he will be participating in an academic conference, and delivering a public lecture, on the ethics of war and intervention.
Registration for both the conference and the lecture is free, and blog readers with an interest in the ethics of war, both within and beyond Birmingham, are warmly encouraged to attend.
The conference, beginning at 9.30am, will be a forum for academic work on war and intervention, bringing together philosophers with members of other disciplines, including history and political science. It will include papers from McMahan himself, Victor Tadros (Warwick), and Kimberley Hutchings (LSE), among others.
McMahan’s public lecture, meanwhile, at 5pm, is intended for members of the public as well as academics. In it, he will be discussing some of the ethical complexities of military humanitarian intervention, and reflecting on current world events, including the situation in Syria.
You can reserve tickets for the conference by following the link here, and for the public lecture here. The provisional programme for the conference, as well as the synopsis of the lecture, are included below. We hope to see many of you there on 30th.
Provisional Programme: Ethics of War and Intervention, 30th May 2014
9.30-10.00: Coffee and Registration
10.00-11.00: Prof. Jeff McMahan, ‘Liability, Proportionality, and the Aggregation of Harm’
11.00-12.30: Panel Session 1
• Dr Eamon Aloyo (Hague Institute for Global Justice), ‘The Last of Last Resort'
• Dr Rita Floyd (POLSIS, Birmingham), ‘Just Resort to Securitization'
• Dr Simon Jackson (History, Birmingham), 'Blockade then relief: the politics and law of humanitarian intervention in WW1 Syria’
1.15-2.15: Prof. Victor Tadros (Law, Warwick), ‘The Uncertainties of War’
2.15-3.15: Panel Session 2 (Doctoral Students)
• Lars Christie (Philosophy, Oslo), 'Humanitarian interventions and collateral damage: Distributing the Cost of Rescue'
• Amanda Cawston (Philosophy, Cambridge), ‘What is Wrong With Alienated Violence?'
• Andrew Forcehimes (Philosophy, Vanderbilt), ‘Luck ad Bellum'
3.30-4.30: Prof. Kim Hutchings (International Relations, LSE), 'What Would We Do Without World War Two? A Feminist Critique of Cosmopolitan Just War Theory'
5.00-6.30: Public Lecture (followed by drinks reception)
Lecture synopsis: Many on the political left view virtually all exercises of military force with suspicion - even those for which there might be a humanitarian justification. Others deplore the unwillingness of powerful states to intervene in such conflicts as those in Rwanda, Sudan, and Syria, when intervention could arguably save tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. Many on the political right think that no instance of humanitarian intervention can be a justifiable use of a state's resources unless it can be shown to be in that state's interest. In his lecture, McMahan will address these different views and consider when humanitarian intervention might be permissible and when it might even be morally required.