The author contests the claim made independently by F.M. Kamm and Thomas Hurka that combatants ought to assign greater weight to collateral harm done to their compatriot noncombatants then they assign to collateral harm done to enemy non-combatants. Two arguments by analogy offered in support of such partiality, one of which appeals to permissible self/other asymmetry in cases of harming the few to save the many, and the second of which appeals to parents' justifiable partiality to their children, are found wanting. The author also rebuts Kamm's argument that combatants should assign greater weight to collateral harm done to neutrals than to compatriot non-combatants. However, he contends that in some cases a neutral state's right to sovereignty may entail that a combatant ought to choose the act that will collaterally kill a greater number of compatriot non-combatants over one that involves collaterally killing a lesser number of neutrals.

Document Type

Post-print Article

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2009, Brill Academic Publishers. The definitive version is available at:

DOI: 10.1163/174552409X433409

Full Citation: Lefkowitz, David. "Partiality and Weighing Harm to Non-Combatants."Journal of Moral Philosophy 6, no. 3 (Spring 2009): 298-316. doi:10.1163/174552409X433409.