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Filling the ranks: moral risk and the ethics of military recruitment

Parry, Jonathan and Easton, Christina ORCID: 0000-0001-7018-7112 (2023) Filling the ranks: moral risk and the ethics of military recruitment. American Political Science Review. ISSN 0003-0554

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0003055423001247


If states are permitted to create and maintain a military force, by what means are they permitted to do so? This article argues that a theory of just recruitment should incorporate a concern for moral risk. Since the military is a morally risky profession for its members, recruitment policies should be evaluated in terms of how they distribute moral risk within a community. We show how common military recruitment practices exacerbate and concentrate moral risk exposure, using the UK as a case study. We argue that the British state wrongs its citizens by subjecting them to excessively morally risky recruitment practices. Since, we argue, this risk exposure cannot be justified by appealing to the benefits of a military career for recruits, our argument calls for reform of existing practices. Our method of evaluation is generalizable and therefore can be used to assess other states' practices.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 08:51
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 19:21

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