Defining Terrorism

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to argue against a certain view of what terrorism is. In particular, I wish to dispute the definition of terrorism used by philosophers Andrew Vails and Angelo Corlett who separately put forward arguments defending the possibility of morally legitimate acts of terrorism. In support of this conclusion, they each employ a broad definition of terrorism that makes room for highly discriminate, i.e., precisely targeted, acts of political violence to count as terrorism. Defending a broad definition of terrorism requires the inclusion of such cases. I argue in defense of a more narrow definition of terrorism, one that associates terrorism with more indiscriminate acts of violence. I believe that this definition better accords with common usage and commonsense

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2011-12-02

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