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Military Ethics: an Introduction

University of New South Wales via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.



Military professionals are unusual in having the use of lethal force as a central, defining feature of their role, and unique in the level of force that they are authorized to use. This fact places a considerable ethical weight on military practitioners as well as the civilian decision-makers who authorize military missions.

The military profession is also unique in having a dedicated ethical framework associated with it, Just War Theory. This defines the conditions for when it is justified for a party to resort to war, the requirements for ethical conduct within the bounds of a war or armed conflict, and the conditions for a just ending to war.

The ethical challenges that military professionals face do not, however, begin and end with the use of force. As such this course combines an overview of Just War Theory with an introduction to key principles of ethics that can aid military professionals in facing every day ethical challenges.

Leading military ethicist Deane-Peter Baker travels around the world exploring key issues and case studies and speaking with international ethicists, military professionals, historians, philosophers, government and NGO personnel to build a comprehensive introduction to this essential field. This course is a must for military professionals, civilian policy makers, journalists, NGO personnel and anyone interested in the appropriate conduct of military affairs.

Everyone with an interest in military ethics is welcome and encouraged to participate in this course. We start with a brief introduction to relevant ethical theories, so no specific background knowledge is required.

Taught by

Deane-Peter Baker


4.7 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Military Ethics: an Introduction

  • Anne Pickersgill
    This course was really well-structured, with theory immediately supported by examples and personal witness reports. It tackled broad ideas with understandable examples drawn from world-wide situations. I learned a massive amount, and was inspired to follow up on the learning. I will sign up for any course run by this tutor, irrespective of subject. Without doubt the best Mooc, possibly the best course I have ever done.
  • Anonymous
    A fantastic thought provoking course with great discussion opportunities. Highly recommended for military professionals and anyone with an interest in ethics.
  • Svetlana
  • Stephane Mysona

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