You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Ethics of War

4. What Makes Someone Liable to be Killed?

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we look at different principles which might determine someone liable to be killed. In particular we (i) introduce cases where it is possible that an attacker has not made themselves liable to be killed (ii) ask whether merely posing a threat to someone’s is sufficient to make that person liable to be killed (iii) ask whether it is wrong to save one’s own life by killing another (iv) identify two further conditions for liability: culpability and responsibility (v) use thought experiments to test intuitions about culpability and responsibility as conditions for liability.


In this course Professor Victor Tadros (University of Warwick) explores the ethics of war. In the first module, we examine the goals of war and evaluate how difficult such goals are to justify. In the second module, we look at the principles of necessity and proportionality in a justified war and review different ideas about what constitutes a proportionate reason to go to war. In the third module, we turn our attention to what might make somebody liable to be killed and how notions of liability can be applied in proportionality calculations concerning war. In the fourth module, we enquire further into what makes someone liable to be killed, using thought experiments to test our intuitions about liability. In the fifth module we explore the relationship between combatants and non-combatants in the ethics of war by applying our knowledge about responsibility, culpability and liability. In the sixth and final module, we look at the laws of war and compare these laws with the morality of war as explored in previous lectures.


Professor Victor Tadros is a lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Warwick. His research interests are in the philosophy of criminal law, terrorism law, the criminal trials and punishment. He is currently researching just war theory, and issues in moral and political philosophy. His books include Criminal Responsibility (2005), The Trial on Trial (with Antony Duff, Lindsay Farmer and Sandra Marshall) (2007) The Ends of Harm: The Moral Foundations of Criminal Law (2011), Wrongs and Crimes (2016) and To Do, To Die, To Reason Why (2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tadros, V. (2022, April 26). The Ethics of War - What Makes Someone Liable to be Killed? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tadros, V. "The Ethics of War – What Makes Someone Liable to be Killed?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Apr 2022,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 6,900 lectures