Killing and dying for one's country

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Contemporary philosophers see patriotism primarily as an attachment to a country expressed in the form of personal loyalty and special concern for that country. But some philosophers believe that patriotism is constituted by a constancy in love for one’s patria. The latter form of patriotism, it is argued here, provides reasons for fighting and killing in defense of one’s patria which the former does not. Thus a loving patriot’s killing of armed invaders of her patria is, it is argued, analogous to killing in self-defense in at least the following two aspects: the armed invaders force the patriot to kill them (i.e., she has no option but to kill) and, in defending her patria, the loving patriot is defending something she considers as valuable as her own life. Against Rodin it is argued that threats to the existence of one’s patria are not easily removable conditional threats analogous to armed extortion of money; and against McMahon, it is argued that killing soldiers in pursuit of a just cause whose invasion still threatens the existence of a patria is not analogous to a (impermissible) murder of a police officer attempting to kill a criminal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of patriotism
EditorsMitja Sardoč
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319305349, 9783319544847
ISBN (Print)9783319544830
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • patria (fatherland)
  • defense of patria
  • patriotism
  • patriotic duty
  • love of one's country
  • killing in defense of patria
  • killing in self-defense
  • dying for one's country
  • Horace
  • Finland (1939)
  • just war
  • just ruler
  • regime change
  • conflict of values
  • moral permissibility


Dive into the research topics of 'Killing and dying for one's country'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this