The Fall 2015 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Amir Saemi, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences, Tehran. The title of his talk is "Targeting Human Shields." (Abstract below.)
Friday, Oct 2, 2015, 3-5pm, Maloney Seminar Room, Social Sciences 224 (1145 E South Campus Drive 85721).
In this talk (which is based on a paper I am co-authoring with Philip Atkins) I am concerned with the morality of killing human shields. Many moral philosophers, such as Frances Kamm, see to believe that knowingly killing human shields is tantamount to intentionally targeting human shields. If we assume (as I assume in this talk) that the distinction between intention and foresight is morally significant (i.e., harming someone intentionally is always harder to justify than a military operation where the same number of casualties result as a merely foreseen side effect. My goal, however, is to argue that there are complexities involved in human shield cases that need to be recognized. Once we become sensitive to those complexities, it becomes clear that only some cases of knowingly killing human shields should be regarded as intentionally targeting human shields, and thus only those cases face higher bars of justification. I will formulate different principles that help us to distinguish between cases where a military operation involves the deliberate harming of civilians and cases where it does not.