Military ethics is a broadly interdisciplinary study, incorporating concerns about the conduct of war, decisions on how and when to engage in military operations, and issues relating to the moral psychology and care of those who serve and of veterans of military service. Traditional just war theory also plays a key role in international relations (political and moral philosophy governing when the use of military force is justified for the resolution of international conflicts) and international law (including Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and international humanitarian law).
Military ethics focuses on the core values and moral principles that collectively govern the men and women serving in the military forces of nations around the world, as members of what is sometimes termed the “military profession” or “the profession of arms.” The ethical foundations that define the profession of arms have developed over millennia from the shared values and experiences, unique role responsibilities, and reflections of members of the profession on their own practices – eventually coming to serve as the basis for various warrior codes and the LOAC.
February 21, 2023: Foreign policy experts discuss U.S. involvement in Afghanistan
January 17, 2023: Philosophy’s Shannon French outlines accountability in age of remote warfare
August 5, 2022: The Code of the Warrior” and Ethics on the Modern Battlefield
August 1, 2021: Shannon E French - On 'The Code of the Warrior' and Ethics of War
June 28, 2021: Biased Data, Killer Robots, and Other Issues in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
March 10, 2021 - The Human Choices of Artificial Intelligence at War
July 7, 2020 - Interview: The Code of the Warrior - The Art of Manliness Podcast
January 20, 2020 - Panel Discussion: "The US-Iran Crisis" hosted by Michael Scharf in a broadcast of "Talking Foreign Policy"
October 24, 2019 - Military Medical Ethics: Battlefield Care for Compatriots, Host-Nation Nationals, and Captured Persons
April 1, 2019: War, International Law & Legitimacy
March 28, 2019 - McCain Conference: The Future of Military Values - Lt. General Chris Miller and Dr. Shannon French
October 15, 2018 - Artificial Ethics? The Use of AI and Autonomous Weapons by the Military
Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society at Mercyhurst University
August 30, 2018: Ethics and Contemporary Conflict: Can the Just War Tradition still contribute anything useful to our understanding?
January 25, 2018 - War Crimes: Causes, Excuses, and Blame
International Society for Military Ethics Conference
November 1, 2017 - If Aristotle Waged Cyber Warfare
December 27, 2017 - Shannon E. French's Appearance on The Dead Prussian: A Podcast about War and Warfare
The host of The Dead Prussian podcast, Mick Cook, speaks with Dr. Shannon French about her current research, her book The Code of the Warrior, and a discussion of the "importance of ethical codes to warrior cultures and how it assists societies in dealing with the impact of war."
April 18, 2017 Shannon E. French discusses the school's new Master of Arts in Military Ethics degree program
September 15, 2014 - International Regulation of Emerging Military Technologies
March 23, 2011 - Challenge's to the Warrior Code: From Private Contractors and Corrupt Command Climates to Terrorism and Torture:
October 27, 2010 - International Peace and War Summit: "The Ethics of War in the 21st Century: Law, Policy, and Practice"
- Ethics of War
- War Healing
- Causes of Conflict
- Children of Peace and War
- For Profit and For Peace
- PhDs, MDs, and DoDs
- Future of Peace and War
- Q&A with Panelists
May 1, 2003 - Shanon E. French discusses new book Code of the Warrior on C-SPAN
Watch video here
Prof. Shannon E. French Presentations
“Emerging Ethical Issues in Military Tech,” presentation for PIT-UN Tech Ethics Workshop, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, December 5, 2022.
“Code of the Warrior 25th Anniversary,” speaker and guest of honor for event celebrating 25 years of the Code of the Warrior course having been taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, October 4, 2022.
“Military Ethics and the War in Ukraine,” interviewed on military ethics by Ray Suarez for NPR broadcast and podcast “World Affairs with Ray Suarez,” online, August 5, 2022.
“The Brereton Report and the Prevention of War Crimes,” plenary panel presentation for the Australian Defense College Strategos Course, Canberra, Australia, online, July 13, 2022.
“Ethics and Military AI,” presentation for the annual Security and Human Behavior, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, online, May 31, 2022.
“Military Ethics,” for the PBS documentary, “Wisdom Keepers,” hosted by Ray Suarez, filmed at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, Cleveland, Ohio, May 9, 2022.
"Military Ethics and Codes of Honor in the High-Tech Era," Philosophy & Religion Forum, University of Southern Mississippi, online, October 12, 2021.
“Ethics and the Compound Security Environment: Robots, AI, and Emerging Tech,” US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) Future of SOF Forum, “Special Operations 20 Years After 9/11: Harvesting History to Forecast the Future,” Tampa, Florida, online, September 9, 2021.
“The Ethics of Wargaming,” keynote presentation for the annual Connections Wargaming Conference, sponsored by the CGSC Foundation, online, June 23, 2021.
"Maintaining a Warrior Ethos and Values on the Modern Battlefield: Reconciling a Code of the Warrior with Automated Systems and Artificial Intelligence,” distinguished guest lecture for United States Marines Corps officers, NCOs, and officer candidates, U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico, Quantico, Virginia, December 12, 2019.
“Geneva Conventions at 70: Changing Times, Enduring Principles,” Distinguished speaker, guest of the British Government and the British Red Cross for the official commemorative event, Lancaster House, London, United Kingdom, October 16, 2019.
“Ethics and Emerging Technology – Promises and Perils for the U.S. Army” Chaplain (Colonel) Sonny & Martha Moore Military Ethical Leadership Lecture at the United States Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, June 26, 2019.
“Ethical Issues of Integrating A.I. in Military Decision-Making,” Security and Human Behavior, Harvard University Law School, June 6, 2019.
“iSoldier: Ethical Challenges for High-Tech Troops,” presented at the annual Euro-ISME (International Society for Military Ethics, European division) conference in Vienna, Austria, May 26, 2019.
“From Targeting to Bioenhancement: High-Tech Issues in Military Ethics,” plenary presentation, annual McCain Conference on Ethics, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, March 29, 2019.
“Artificial Ethics? The Use of A.I. and Autonomous Weapons by the Military,” Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society 10th-anniversary lecture, Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania, October 15, 2018.
“Neuroethics and the Military: Retaining Ethical Restraint,” presented at the annual Euro-ISME (International Society for Military Ethics, European division) conference in Toledo, Spain, May 15, 2018.
“Code of the Robot: Military Virtues and Artificial Intelligence,” presented at the annual Euro-ISME (International Society for Military Ethics, European division) conference in Toledo, Spain, May 14, 2018.
2015: Dehumanizing the Enemy - The Intersection of Neuroethics and Military Ethics
French, Shannon and Jack, Anthony. “Dehumanizing the Enemy - The Intersection of Neuroethics and Military Ethics.” Responsibilities to Protect: Perspective in Theory and Practice. Ed. David Whetham and Bradley J. Strawser. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2015, 169-195.
Military Ethics at CWRU
The Inamori Center is proud to partner with Military Ethics master's degree program at CWRU to
- provide funding, experiential education, research, and teaching opportunities for students;
- utilize the Inamori Center space for course meetings and other events;
- collaborate on new curricular program initiatives;
- host the Inamori Visiting Scholar; and
- collaborate with US military and international program partners.
Case Western Reserve University's College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with the School of Law and the Inamori Center, introduced the first master's program in military ethics in the United States in 2017. Learn more about program requirements, curriculum, and program students and graduates here.
April 18, 2017 - Shannon E. French discusses the school's new Master of Arts in Military Ethics degree program