Ethics, War and Intervention

The Institute of Advanced Studies Saving Humans conference ‘Ethics, War and Intervention’ was held at the University of Birmingham on Friday 30 May 2014. IAS was delighted to welcome Professor Jeff McMahan as keynote speaker.



About Jeff McMahan

Jeff McMahan is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of Saving Humans, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham. He is the author of The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life(Oxford University Press, 2002) and Killing in War(Oxford University Press, 2009). He has several other books forthcoming from Oxford University Press, including a collection of essays called The Values of Lives, a book on war intended for both academic and non-academic readers called The Right Way to Fight, and a sequel to his 2002 book called The Ethics of Killing: Self-Defense, War, and Punishment.


      Coffee and Registration from 9.00am

Welcome: Professor Heather Widdows

10.00 - 11.00        Session 1 (chair: Professor Heather Widdows)

      Prof. Jeff McMahan, ‘Liability, Proportionality, and the Aggregation of Harm’

11.00 - 12.30        Session 2: Panel A (chair: Dr. Christopher Finlay)

      Speakers 25 mins each followed by 15 mins Q&A together:

  • Dr Eamon Aloyo (Hague Institute for Global Justice), ‘The Last of Last Resort'
  • Dr Rita Floyd (Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), University of Birmingham), ‘Just Resort to Securitization'
  • Dr Simon Jackson (European University Institute in Florence and from Sept 2014 History, Birmingham), 'Blockade then relief: the politics and law of humanitarian intervention in WW1 Syria’

12.30 - 13.15        Lunch in ERI Atrium

13.15 - 14.15        Session 3 (chair: Dr. Jeremy Williams)

      Prof. Victor Tadros (Law, Warwick), ‘The Uncertainties of War’ (Chair: Jeremy

14.15 - 15.15        Session 4: Panel B (chair: Professor Paul Jackson)

      Speakers 15 mins each followed by 15 mins Q&A together

  • Lars Christie (Philosophy, Oslo), 'Humanitarian interventions and collateral damage: Distributing the Cost of Rescue'
  • Amanda Cawston (Philosophy, Cambridge), ‘What is Wrong With Alienated Violence?'
  • Andrew Forcehimes (Philosophy, Vanderbilt), ‘Luck ad Bellum'

15.15 - 15.30        Coffee in ERI Atrium

15.30-16.30        Session 5 (chair: Dr. Scott Wisor)

      Prof. Kim Hutchings (International Relations, London School of Economics ), 'What
      Would We Do Without World War Two? A Feminist Critique of Cosmopolitan Just
      War Theory'.

17.00-18.30    Public Lecture, Barber Institute of Fine Arts Professor Jeff McMahan

Title: ‘The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention, With Comments on Syria’

Introduction: Professor Michael Whitby, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Arts and Law.

Vote of thanks: Nicholas J. Wheeler, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation, and Security (ICCS)

18.30-20.00          Wine reception and buffet with stalls, posters, and installations.


Professor Jeff McMahan: ‘The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention, With Comments on Syria’

Snapshots from the event