The possibility of using private military and security companies to bolster the capacity to undertake intervention for human rights purposes has been increasingly debated. The focus of such discussions has, however, largely been on practical issues and the contingent problems posed by private force. By contrast, this article considers the principled case for privatising humanitarian intervention. It focuses on two central issues. First, does outsourcing humanitarian intervention to private military and security companies pose some fundamental, deeper problems in this context, (...) such as an abdication of a state's duties? Second, on the other hand, is there a case for preferring these firms to other, state-based agents of humanitarian intervention? For instance, given a state's duties to their own military personnel, should the use of private military and security contractors be preferred to regular soldiers for humanitarian intervention? (shrink)
Alvin Plantingas Warranted Christian Belief is without questionone of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantingas defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantingas project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, of (...) these objections can be understood as versions or aspects of the same criticism, what I call the Inadequacy Thesis. (shrink)
Book review of three book about philosopher Charles Taylor. "Charles Taylor", by Ruth Abbey. Teddington, UK: Acumen, 2000. ISBN: 0691057141. "Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity", by Nicholas H. Smith. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. ISBN: 0742521273. "Charles Taylor: Thinking and Living Deep Diversity", by Mark Redhead. Lanham and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. ISBN: 0745645767. There can be no doubt that Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has made a major contribution to the development of contemporary philosophy and is one of the most (...) influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. Perhaps the most striking feature of his work is its breadth, both in terms of the topics addressed and per-spectives employed. Taylor's work ranges from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies, touching on questions of epistemology, ethics, identity, and metaphysics along the way. He is rare in his ability to bring his deep knowledge of history, ancient culture and religious thought to bear in his philosophical investigations. (shrink)
The problem with mercenaries can’t simply be that they do what they do for money. It would be pretty hypocritical to condemn them for providing combat services for money, given that we generally honour and praise those members of our nation’s Armed Forces who fight at the front line – even though theyreceive a pay cheque at the end of every month.
Many believe strongly that states, even democratic states, commit serious moral harm by adopting policies that allow elective abortions. What avenues are available to citizens of those states who oppose such policies? In this paper I contest Nicholas Dixon’s claim that there is only a very limited scope for acts of civil disobedience in response to pro-abortion state policy. While acknowledging that a state policy of not allowing elective abortions imposes significant burdens on pregnant women, I contend that a consistent (...) political liberalism—committed to the idea of state neutrality—must recognize the validity of significant, even invasive, civil disobedience in response to states that follow a policy of allowing elective abortions. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga's "Warranted Christian Belief" is without question one of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantinga's defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantinga's project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, (...) of these objections can be understood as versions or aspects of the same criticism, what I call the 'Inadequacy Thesis'. (shrink)
Presents a Taylorian critique of the political philosophy in Richard Rorty's book 'Achieving Our Country.' Distinction between the old-guard reformist Left and the new orthodoxy of cultural Leftism; Analysis of pertinent topics and relevant issues; Implications on studies of social and political theory.
E. D. Swinton's The Defence of Duffer's Drift: A Lesson in the Fundamentals of Small Unit Tactics, originally published in 1904, uses the device of a series of recurring but progressive nightmares to teach a set of tactical lessons that Swinton derived from his service in the Second Anglo-Boer War. Now a minor classic, The Defence of Duffer's Drift has had an enduring and international impact. The book's popularity has also led to the publication of several narratives inspired by the (...) original, many of them authored by serving members of the US Army. Although this subset of the ‘progeny’ of Swinton's work are focused on teaching tactical lessons, read together they provide a small but fascinating window into the evolution of the US Army's understanding of the ethics of armed conflict at the tactical level. The texts that are the focus of this paper span a period of 88 years, covering the post-First World War emphasis on positional warfare, through the shift to a focus on large-scale mechanized warfare that.. (shrink)
Abstract This paper addresses the teaching of mandatory ethics courses in a military context, with particular reference to the Service Academies of the United States Armed Forces. In seeking to optimize the core ethics course's potential to develop Midshipmen and Cadets' moral reasoning skills I suggest a model that employs case-based scenarios, woven together into a metanarrative, in place of the traditional historical case study and in a manner that gives students deliberate, guided practice in ethical decision-making. The described model (...) also commends a resource- and pedagogy-driven partnership between civilian philosophers/ethicists and senior military officers in teaching the course. Also proposed is the deliberate use of a simple but formal method of applying the central ethical theories usually taught in such courses, what I call ?ethical triangulation?. The employment of Computer Aided Argument Mapping is also recommended. (shrink)
In this paper I draw on Thaddeus Metz’s pioneering work in African ethics, and particularly his account of the concept described by the terms ubuntu, botho, hunhu or utu, to sketch an African normative understanding of the act of rebellion against the authority of the state. Most commonly articulated in the phrase “a person is a person through other persons”, ubuntu is interpreted by Metz as a unique communitarian moral principle which can be described in its essence as the claim (...) that “actions are right, or confer ubuntu on a person, insofar as they prize communal relationships, ones in which people identify with each other, or share a way of life, and exhibit solidarity toward one another, or care about each other’s quality of life”. On the face of it, this principle appears at odds with rebellions against state authority. Following Metz, I argue, however, that a deeper grasp of this principle does, in fact, provide a justification for instances of civilian rebellion against state authority, under appropriate circumstances. (shrink)
Few thinkers have had as much impact on contemporary philosophy as has Alvin Plantinga. The work of this quintessential analytic philosopher has in many respects set the tone for the debate in the fields of modal metaphysics and epistemology and he is arguably the most important philosopher of religion of our time. In this volume, a distinguished team of today's leading philosophers address the central aspects of Plantinga's philosophy - his views on natural theology; his responses to the problem of (...) evil; his contributions to the field of modal metaphysics; the controversial evolutionary argument against naturalism; his model of epistemic warrant and his view of epistemic defeat; and his recent work on mind-body dualism. Also included is an appendix containing Plantinga's often referred to, but previously unpublished, lecture notes entitled 'Two Dozen Theistic Arguments', with a substantial preface to the appendix written by Plantinga specifically for this volume. (shrink)
Do not write more than 15 lines for any answer. (5 marks each = 20 marks for this section) 1. Descartes argues that the concept of a vacuum or empty space is incoherent. Briefly explain the reasons he offers for this.
While there are no serious arguments in favor of there being no state control whatsoever over the private ownership and employment of firearms, there are significant arguments on the other extreme of the ‘gun control debate’ which contend for bans on the private ownership of firearms or some subset thereof. In this paper I argue that gun ban proponents like Jeff McMahan and Nicholas Dixon confuse the risk or likelihood of being confronted by an attacker intent on serious or lethal (...) harm with the right to defend oneself when faced by such an attacker. When this distinction is properly understood it becomes clear that arguments for the banning of all privately owned guns, or particular classes of guns, cannot stand so long as the firearms in question can be reasonably considered to be an effective means for individuals to defend themselves against attackers intent on serious or lethal harm. (shrink)
As health policy-makers around the world seek to make progress towards universal health coverage, they must navigate between two important ethical imperatives: to set national spending priorities fairly and efficiently; and to safeguard the right to health. These imperatives can conflict, leading some to conclude that rights-based approaches present a disruptive influence on health policy, hindering states’ efforts to set priorities fairly and efficiently. Here, we challenge this perception. We argue first that these points of tension stem largely from inadequate (...) interpretations of the aims of priority setting as well as the right to health. We then discuss various ways in which the right to health complements traditional concerns of priority setting and vice versa. Finally, we set out a three-step process by which policy-makers may navigate the ethical and legal considerations at play. (shrink)
The latest catchphrase to enter the English language as a result of military conflict is the term 'asymmetrical warfare'. At its broadest, asymmetrical warfare is simply any conflict in which there is a significant qualitative 1 mismatch between opponents in any or all of the following: manpower, firepower, technology and tactics. While the phrase is new, the concept is not. Asymmetrical warfare has been going on for about as long as humans have fought each other in organized ways. In the (...) South African context, for example, one need only think of the devastating attacks by King Shaka's highly-organized regiments (equipped as they were with revolutionary weaponry like the short stabbing spear or assegai), against the various tribes and groups that got in the way of Shaka's expansionist goals. Asymmetry was also an essential component in the successes of the rifle, canon and Gatling-gun equipped colonial armies who subdued the tribesmen of Africa and elsewhere. In the more recent past the ANC's low-tech guerrilla campaign against the conventional might of the apartheid regime is yet another example. There are, of course, complexities here, and asymmetries are not all of the same ilk, nor do they remain fixed, and certainly it is sometimes difficult to tell whether a conflict can properly be defined as asymmetrical. Nonetheless the general concept is easily recognizable. (shrink)