8th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Nuti

Alasia Nuti

The Helpless Goes to War. A Feminist Criticism of Just War Theory

The aim of this paper will be to provide a feminist criticism of various jus in bello theories. To do so, I will make use of some concepts developed by Adriana Cavarero, one of the most important contemporary feminist philosophers, in her recent work on war. Cavarero argues that the perspective of the soldier, from which wars are usually described, must be abandoned in favour of the victim’s point of view. Reinterpreting the descriptive analysis developed by Cavarero as a normative argument, I will level a criticism at both the traditional accounts of jus in bello (centred on the principle of double effect) and its feminist reformulation, provided by Laura Sjoberg. The adoption of the perspective of the victims as the standpoint from which to assess the justice of military actions will help show how all the jus in bello theories considered are affected by partiality and do not respect the value of each human being. In conclusion I will show how the substitution of the perspective of the victim for that of the warrior is required by some of the most basic assumptions of a feminist framework. As the perspective of the victim seems consistent with no military actions, a feminist approach to war will turn out to entail the adoption of a pacifist stance.