Pope John Paul II's opposition to the Iraq War was not that it failed to meet the conditions of Just War Theory. Indeed, we cannot tell from what he publicly said whether he thought it met those conditions or not, for he would have opposed it in any case. His thinking was rather that even just and necessary wars always come, as it were, too late, and are never able to solve the problems that made wars just and necessary. He (...) was not trying therefore to enter into the details of Just War Theory. He wanted to subsume the principles of war into the principles of peace and to do so, not by denying justice, but by transcending it with charity. This article shows how this thinking is to be understood and the many means the Pope devised for putting this thinking into practice. (shrink)
There is a widespread belief among contemporary philosophers that skeptical hypotheses—such as that we are dreaming, or victims of an evil demon, or brains in a vat—cannot definitively be ruled out as false. This belief is ill-founded. In fact it is based on a failure to see that skeptical arguments beg the question. Such arguments assume that reality is not an immediate given of experience in order to prove that reality is not an immediate given of experience. This point is (...) explained and justified in detail. Conversely, however, the realist would beg the question in the opposite way if he tried to prove realism. The conclusion we should reach is that skepticism and realism are problems of immediacy and not of proof. They face us with a choice between alternatives that are not only radically different but also pretty much impregnable and irrelevant to each other. This choice is not arbitrary, for there are grounds to determine it. But the grounds are the immediate evidence and not the arguments. (shrink)
Proper criticism requires proper targeting. Legutko argues that libertarianism destroys communities and that my theory, which combines libertarianism with communitarianism, must therefore be wrong. But the libertarianism Legutko criticizes is not the same as the libertarianism for which I argue. He has therefore done nothing to show that my combination of libertarianism and communitarianism is impossible, whether in theory or in practice.
Arguments for and against liberalism are vitiated by failing to distinguish between states (which have millions of citizens) and communities (which have only a few thousand citizens). The state should be liberal or minimal, but the community should not. The state is an alliance of communities for mutual defense and is concerned with matters of defense alone. Two reasons are given for this conclusion, one from Aristotle and one from Hobbes (though Hobbes's argument has to be corrected in two important (...) respects). The community, by contrast, is a moral community and should not be liberal. Two arguments are also given for this conclusion, one from the naturalness of the family and one from the need for moral education. Once state and community have been thus distinguished and described, standard arguments both for and against the liberal state are seen to be correct but misdirected. (shrink)