Moralities of Warfare 2019 · Morality and Collective Action in War Theory

May 9, 2019 - May 10, 2019
Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, Austria

Alte Kapelle
Alte Kapelle, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2.8
Vienna 1090

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University of Vienna
West Virginia University


University of Vienna

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Moralities of Warfare 2019 · Morality and Collective Action in War Theory Interdisciplinary Workshop

May 9-10, 2019

Alte Kapelle am Campus der Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 2.8, 1090 Wien

War is a collective enterprise, and in all likelihood, this will not change. In order to act together, individuals subscribe to a shared ethos and rules of conduct. Nation states defend military action by means of values and statements about justice. Moreover, the norms and convictions of the military personal also resonate with a war morale of a distinct collective. Morality thus appears to support or even trigger collective action. Yet, morality also tears into the opposite direction. Following recent proposals in war ethics, the most important just cause – self-defense against an unjust aggression – is defined against the backdrop of personal self-defense. The attack on a single individual is not only the paradigm case in reasoning an allowance to take the arms against an aggressor. Furthermore, the standard scenario of killing in war cannot be discussed without also addressing the tension between single action and collective action.

This interdisciplinary workshop explores the meaning and content of morality (in a broad sense) when applied to collective action in war. It is our aim to inquire the various meanings of “morality” in an interdisciplinary context. We also wish to highlight the tensions between collective and individual action that result from the application of concepts as diverse as “war morale,” “responsibility,” “ethos,” “culpability,” or “commitment.” This workshop also invites discussions about “new wars,” possibly also to cyber wars and robot wars. Collective action will not be obsolete in new wars; however, the relationship between single and collective responsibility is likely to change.

This workshop is part of a series of workshops that explore the elements of “Moralities of Warfare” (including former workshops on “The Committed Soldier” and “Moralities of Warfare and Religion”).

Organized by:

Prof. Angela Kallhoff, Professor of Ethics with special emphasis on Applied Ethics

Department of Philosophy


Dipl.-Theol. Dr. Thomas Schulte-Umberg

Department of Historical Theology


Linnea Kralik
Faculty of Philosophy and Education
Department of Philosophy
University of Vienna

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