Feminist philosophers Judith Butler and Margaret Urban Walker suggest an approach to the study of ethics that allows for critical attention to the role of power—something critics like Talal Asad argue has been missing from modern ethics—while preserving the possibility of normative argument. In this paper, I consider how this approach might be employed in relation to the tradition of just war reasoning. In particular, I focus on the just war criteria of right authority, just cause, and discrimination between combatants and noncombatants. I argue that recognition of the influence of power on just war reasoning suggests new ways of acting to fulfill these criteria in order to achieve a fair distribution of responsibilities and vulnerabilities.

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