Lately, I've been playing the game Metal Gear Solid, which is a game focused on espionage. In the game, the way that I prefer to play is such that the playable character is fine with harming the enemy; for example incapacitating them with hand to hand combat, using a tranquilizer gun on them, or holding them up at gun point, but not fine with murdering them.

Is there a word that exists to describe an opinion that violence is fine to accomplish a task, but not murder? For one to be pacifist necessitates that one is against all forms of violence, including that which does not end the life another, so that didn't quite fit.

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    I always thought it was interesting in Batman video games that he would never be okay with killing someone, yet crushing their spine against a brick wall was perfectly okay... Interesting question, I wonder if there is a word. – Tyler N Aug 5 '20 at 18:54
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    I've never heard of a word like this, but I might not travel in the circles where it would come up. – Barmar Aug 5 '20 at 20:56
  • I suggest there is no word or term like that, partly because the whole Question is about philosophy, not vocabulary. I also suggest Batman "crushing anyone's spine" was a figure of speech, broadly equivalent to "thrashing him within an inch of his life…" Don't you think in every-day life most people find violence acceptable, and see killing as nothing more than an extension? – Robbie Goodwin Aug 6 '20 at 23:37
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    @RobbieGoodwin - Nevertheless, we use words to express our ideas in philosophy. – ConsciousClay Aug 8 '20 at 8:00
  • @Touchstone Of course we do. How was that in question? Would you prefer to drop the original Question and instead go to Chat about philosophy? – Robbie Goodwin Aug 8 '20 at 23:29
  1. unsoldierly (adj): Not having the qualities of a soldier. [Shorter Oxford English dictionary]

This is applicable if one thinks the purpose of being a soldier is to kill. In this case, someone who is unsoldierly may still tolerate violence to some extent.

  1. unmilitary (adj): Not in accordance with military practice. [Shorter Oxford English dictionary]

For reasons analogous to those above. The synonym 'nonmilitary' may work as well.

  1. conscientious objector (noun):

A person who refuses to serve in the armed forces or bear arms on moral or religious grounds. [M-W]

Again, someone may not wish to serve in the armed forces due to scruples over killing, rather than violence per se.

For all that, I don't find any of these terms especially specific for your intended meaning. It may be, as is found in other instances, that the best term will be one suggested by the personality traits of a character in some fairly well-known story.

Compare - [Quixotic, Pander, Gargantuan, Serendipity, Malapropism, Milquetoast, Pollyanna, Syohilis] etc.

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