The Ethics of Surrendering or Fighting On: How Far Should One be Willing to Self-Defend?

April 29, 2022 @ 11:00 am – 11:50 am
Virtual Event
Michelle Burchill

The international law on the use of force is largely premised on obligations owed to the international community and other states. But what of obligations owed to one’s own population when fighting a war? Could it be argued that, just as fighting a war of aggression is (also) a violation of the rights of one’s own population, there are limits to how far one should be willing to wage war even in self-defense? What, in this context, might be a « just » surrender that does not sacrifice the very survival of one’s population for an elusive victory and what, conversely, might justify that one make huge military and civilian sacrifices to uphold a certain idea of self-determination? The talk will principally draw on the intersection between just war theory and human rights to think about how we might develop a corpus of principles to think about these complex issues.

Please contact Michelle Burchill at for the Zoom link.