"Defending Humanity may be viewed as a protracted and fascinating effort to show that certain intuitive conclusions regarding the use of international force are justified and reinforced by international law...Fletcher and Ohlin serve up much thoughtful discussion and a number of fascinating historical opinions and observations...Upon completing the book, I felt a bond of kinship with the authors and an appreciation for their willingness to undertake such a worthy exploration."--International Journal of World Peace
"With its elegant distinctions and provocative theories, Defending Humanity
offers a much needed rethinking of the disparate justifications for war. But at least as importantly, it is methodologically diverse, presenting a rich tapestry of comparative, criminal, and international law. A must read."--Kim Ferzan, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Institute for Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University, School of Law, Camden
"The publication of this book is an exciting event for those who care about the legal regulation of war. Ranging over diverse legal and philosophical traditions, the authors analyze and evaluate theories of self-defense in criminal law in order to develop a plausible account of legitimate defense. They then extend this account to enhance our understanding of self-defense in the international law of war. Defending Humanity
is philosophically informed, erudite yet accessible, and lively and pugnacious without being polemical. I read it with continuous pleasure."--Jeff McMahan, author of The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life
"Provocative and innovative.... George Fletcher and Jens Ohlin's book, Defending Humanity
, presents a remarkable tour through the theoretical, historical, and cultural justifications for the use of force by one country against another.... Defending Humanity
is an exellent book, and its probing analysis should help sharpen readers' own views."--Harold J. Krent, Dean and Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law.
"The two Columbia professors provide a carefully thought out set of guidelines on what counts as 'defense,' when humanitarian interventions are legitimate, why preemptive and preventive wars are almost always impossible,...and much more. Carefully reasoned from the standpoint of those who still rely on violence to achieve national ends, this book should become a classic for the foreign policy 'realists.'"--Tikkun
"A stimulating and provocative book, deserving a wide readership and a central place in debates about the role of military force in international affairs...an excellent, thought-provoking, and, not least, timely book. Its main line of argument concerning the defensive use of military force draws on notions of self-defense found in several traditions of domestic law, and does so in original and insightful ways. The result is a much more fine-grained notion of self-defense in international law than what figures in most current debates."--Ethics & International Affairs
"Fletcher and Ohlin present us with a valuable and significant contribution to theories and arguments about the use of force in international law. They formulate a coherent set of principles be which the legitimacy of defensive actions can be tested which bridge the divide between philosophy and legal theory."--Charlotte Peevers, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
About the Author
George P. Fletcher, Professor of Law at Columbia University, is one of the preeminent scholars of criminal law in the English language. His Rethinking Criminal Law (OUP 2000) and The Grammar of Criminal Law (OUP 2007) are regarded as the leading works in the theory of criminal law and comparative criminal law.
Jens David Ohlin is Assistant Professor of Law at Cornell University. He is an expert in international criminal law and has published articles on subjects ranging from genocide, war crimes, conspiracy, international law and human rights.