Berkeley Talks: Tanner Lectures, day 2: Arthur Ripstein on why it’s wrong to target civilians during war

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For the 2019 Tanner Lectures at UC Berkeley, Arthur Ripstein, a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Toronto, argues that the very thing that makes war wrongful — the fact which side prevails does not depend on who is in the right — also provides the moral standard for evaluating the conduct of war, both the grounds for going to war and the ways in which wars are fought.

portrait of Arthur Ripstein

Arthur Ripstein

In the second of three days of lectures and discussions, which took place on April 9-11, Ripstein talks about why it’s wrong to target civilians and makes a distinction between those who are and are not a part of war. Following the lecture, Oona Hathaway, a professor of international law at Yale Law School, and Jeff McMahan, a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Oxford, provide commentary.

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values is presented annually at nine universities: UC Berkeley, Harvard, Michigan, Princeton, Stanford, Utah, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford. This series was founded in 1978 by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner, who was also a member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Utah. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy. Tanner’s goal, in establishing the lectures through the Tanner philanthropies, was to promote the search for a better understanding of human behavior and human values. He hoped that the lectures would advance scholarly and scientific learning in the area of human values, and contribute to the intellectual and moral life of humankind.

Learn more about the 2019 Tanner Lectures.

Stay tuned for the third installment of the 2019 Tanner Lectures on Berkeley Talks.