A Moral Military

Sidney Axinn
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-958-3
Publication: Dec 08

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-957-6
Publication: Dec 08

Ebook: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-959-0
Publication: Dec 08

230 pages
6 x 9

A new edition of the classic book on what constitutes moral behavior during wartime

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In this new edition of the classic book on the moral conduct of war, Sidney Axinn provides a full-length treatment of the military conventions from a philosophical point of view. Axinn considers these basic ethical questions within the context of the laws of warfare: Should a good soldier ever disobey a direct military order? Are there restrictions on how we fight a war? What is meant by “military honor,” and does it really affect the contemporary soldier? Is human dignity possible under battlefield conditions? Axinn answers “yes” to these questions. His objective in A Moral Military is to establish a basic framework for moral military action and to assist in analyzing military professional ethics. He argues for the seriousness of the concept of military honor but limits honorable military activity by a strict interpretation of the notion of war crime. With revisions and expansions throughout, including a new chapter on torture, A Moral Military is an essential guide on the nature of war during a time when the limits of acceptable behavior are being stretched in new directions.


"Sidney Axinn addresses the hardest questions raised by the experience of war and argues his way to clear and forthright answers. His book is a virtuoso display of intellectual energy and moral courage."

"Axinn presents compelling arguments with simple, philosophical analysis….For those who relish ethical debate or for others who merely wish to take a deeper look at the moral values that underpin their profession, Axinn provides a rich commentary."

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2008 edition Preface to the original edition I. Introduction II. Morality: Why Sacrifice Myself? What are moral questions? III. Military Honor and the Laws of Warfare: When Can I Lie to the Enemy? IV. Hostilities: All Is Not Fair V. Prisoners of War VI. Spies VII. Non-Hostile Relations with the Enemy VIII. War Crimes, Remedies, and Retaliation (Dirty Warfare) IX. The Dirty-Hands Theory of Command X. Torture XI. Nuclear Devices and Low-Intensity Conflicts XII. Conclusions Appendix 1. Are the Hague and Geneva Conventions Obsolete? Appendix 2. Topics Not Considered in the Text Appendix 3. Test on the Laws of Land Warfare Notes Brief Bibliography Index

About the Author(s)

Sidney Axinn is Professor Emeritus, Philosophy Department, Temple University, and Courtesy Professor, Philosophy, University of South Florida. He is Past President of the American Society for Value Inquiry, and the author of The Logic of Hope: Extensions of Kant's View of Religion.