Recently, I’ve written: “The Doctrine of Double Effect: A Closed-Form Solution to a Computationally Hard Ethical Dilemma?”As a cadet, I was required to take Philosophy and Ethical Reasoning, where 1/3 of the course was on Just War Theory (JWT). I found this theory to be a convenient framework for framing the difficult ethical decisions to be made before and in war, but it did not sit right with my intuition about what is actually ethical. To me, JWT seemed better classified as a compilation of heuristics than a standalone normative ethical theory. This cognitive dissonance led me to discover several papers that backed up my intuitions with Bayesian Decision Theory based Utilitarianism. My paper goes into this dilemma, along with the deep problems of the Doctrine of Double Effect. Peter Hammond sums up my thoughts best:
In the end, the theory that has been sketched here (utilitarianism)
determines completely the formal structure of the ethical decision
criterion. Yet this formal structure remains an empty shell, to be
completed by substantive ethical statements concerning what should count as an ethically relevant consequence, and even about what decisions really would be right in certain practical decision problems. The real work in ethics may only just be beginning. It promises to be much more interesting than the rather dry arguments about whetheror not utilitarianism or consequentialism appropriate. I have set out such arguments here only to explain why I personally regard the issue as virtually settled.