Defining terrorism -- State terrorism and counterterrorism -- Complicity of the victims -- The consequences of terrorism -- Terrorism, rights, and justice -- Terrorism, supreme emergency, and moral disaster -- Is terrorism morally distinctive? -- Case study : terror bombing of German cities -- Case study : terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Any plausible position in the ethics of war and political violence in general will include the requirement of protection of civilians (non-combatants, common citizens) against lethal violence. This requirement is particularly prominent, and particularly strong, in just war theory. Some adherents of the theory see civilian immunity as absolute, not to be overridden in any circumstances whatsoever. Others allow that it may be overridden, but only in extremis. The latter position has been advanced by Michael Walzer under the heading of (...) “supreme emergency.” In this paper, I look into some of the issues of interpretation and application of Walzer’s “supreme emergency” view and some of the criticisms that have been levelled against it. I argue that Walzer’s view is vague and unacceptable as it stands, but that the alternatives proposed by critics such as Brian Orend, C.A.J. Coady, and Stephen Nathanson are also unattractive. I go on to construct a position that is structurally similar to Walzer’s, but more specific and much less permissive, which I term the “moral disaster” view. According to this view, deliberate killing of civilians is almost absolutely wrong. (shrink)
A timely contribution from prominent philosophers to the public debate about morality and politics, exploring the fundamental problem of their relation and a string of specific issues. Is political morality more permissive of deception, manipulation and violence? Is there room for morality in international relations? Is patriotism a virtue? What are the moral costs of policies that keep out most of those seeking immigration or asylum? May we use torture in the 'war on terror'? What are the moral hazards of (...) military obedience? (shrink)
The protection of noncombatants from deadly violence is the centrepiece of any account of ethical and legal constraints on war. It was a major achievement of moral progress from early modern times to World War I. Yet it has been under constant attrition since - perhaps never more so than in our time, with its 'new wars', the spectre of weapons of mass destruction, and the global terrorism alert. -/- Civilian Immunity in War, written in collaboration by eleven authors, provides (...) the first comprehensive analysis of all main aspects of this highly topical subject. It considers the arguments for rejection of civilian immunity and the main theories of the grounds and proper scope of this immunity, both deontological (just war theory) and consequentialist. Separate chapters examine the historical development of the idea of civilian immunity, its standing in current international law, and the problem of "collateral damage": of harming civilians without intent, as a side-effect of attacks on military targets. The volume also addresses a string of specific issues. Civilian immunity has undergone much attrition with the development of air warfare and the tendency of military conflict to degenerate into "total" war. On the other hand, modern military technology with its precision guidance missiles and "smart" bombs opens up the possibility of restricting deadly violence to its proper targets and staying clear of civilian life, limb, and property. Another pressing issue is the fate of women in war in light of mass rapes characteristic of some 'new wars'. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive discussion of all the main philosophical issues raised by terrorism against the background of its past and recent developments. Prominent philosophers discuss definitions of terrorism, approaches to its moral evaluation, and the contentious subject of state terrorism. Also included are four case studies, showing how the concepts and arguments philosophers deploy in discussing violence, war and terrorism apply to particular instances of both insurgent and state terrorism, ranging from World War II to September 11, 2001.
In his widely influential statement of just war theory, Michael Walzer exempts conscripted soldiers from all responsibility for taking part in war, whether just or unjust (the thesis of the moral equality of soldiers). He endows the overwhelming majority of civilians with almost absolute immunity from military attack on the ground that they aren't responsible for the war their country is waging, whether just or unjust. I argue that Walzer is much too lenient on both soldiers and civilians. Soldiers fighting (...) for a just cause and soldiers fighting for an unjust one are not morally equal. A substantial proportion of civilians in a democracy are responsible, to a significant degree, for their country's unjust war. Moreover, under certain (admittedly rare) circumstances, some of them are legitimate targets of military attack. This has bearing on settling moral accounts in the wake of war and the issue of forgiving the wrongs done in its course: possible candidates for such forgiveness are much more numerous than is usually assumed. (shrink)
The liberal view that valid consent is sufficient for a sex act to be morally legitimate is challenged by three major philosophies of sex: the Catholic view of sex as ordained for procreation and properly confined to marriage, the romantic view of sex as bound up with love, and the radical feminist analysis of sex in our society as part and parcel of the domination of women by men. I take a critical look at all three, focusing on Mary Geach''s (...) recent statement of the procreation view, Roger Scruton''s theory of sexual desire as naturally evolving into intimacy and love, and several radical feminist discussions of sex in sexist society which argue that the notion of consent is unhelpful and, indeed, irrelevant. I argue that none of these lines of argument is convincing, and that consent remains the touchstone of morally permissible sex – although, dmittedly, it may not be very helpful in discussing ideals of human sexuality. (shrink)
I discuss five lines of argument for the claim that prostitution is wrong: (1) the condemnation of prostitution by positive morality; (2) paternalist objections to it; (3) the claim that some things just aren't for sale and that sex is one of them, which is based either on the view of sex as essentially tied to procreation and marriage, or on the conception of sex as bound up with love; (4) the radical feminist critique of prostitution as a practice that (...) degrades women, and (5) is implicated in the oppression of women. I try to show that none of these objections is valid, and that we still lack a good argument to support the widespread condemnation of prostitution. (shrink)