Watkins to Speak on Moral Psychology of War

Hanne M. Watkins
Hanne M. Watkins

Hanne M. Watkins, a postdoctoral research associate in the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, will speak on “The Moral Psychology of War” on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. in Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall.

In this talk, she will outline an approach to studying the moral psychology of war that combines the most prominent moral philosophy of war (just war theory) with contemporary moral psychology. She will briefly review a number of recent studies in moral psychology that use this approach, discuss two other approaches to war and morality in psychological research, and explore the broader implications for moral psychology, the philosophy of war, and our understanding of morality in war.

Watkins’ research examines issues related to the moral psychology of war, including the stereotypes people hold of soldiers (and how these stereotypes relate to moral judgments about soldiers killing and being killed); how moral judgments of harm differ across peace and war contexts; and the effect of war commemorations on people’s perceptions of in-group sacrifice and support for war.

According to Watkins, “Clearly, soldiers are judged according to standards of appropriate conduct. But what are these standards? What is judged as morally right and wrong in war, and how are such judgments made? The answer to this question has important political, practical and theoretical implications.”

The talk is open to all and refreshments will be served.