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The Ethics of Espionage
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Although thought about the justice of warfare is highly developed, justifications for defending and obtaining secrets—activities that can involve serious harms—are relatively recent and conflicting. At a time when the relative power of antiliberal states is rising, it’s crucial that we think more clearly about how liberal democracies can defend themselves while remaining true to the norms that define and sustain them.

On the second day of the 2021 McCain Conference, two distinguished philosophers explored these foundational issues. Cecile Fabre is Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Political Philosophy at Oxford University. She has written many articles and books on a variety of topics, especially the ethics of war, and has a forthcoming book on the ethics of espionage and counter-intelligence. Michael Skerker is a professor of ethics here at the Naval Academy, and the author of two excellent books: An Ethics of Interrogation and most recently The Moral Status of Combatants: A New Theory of Just War.

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Cecile Fabre
Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College
Michael Skerker
Associate professor in the Leadership, Ethics, and Law department at Naval Academy
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November 5 - 6, 2021
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Cecile Fabre
Michael Skerker