In Georg Meggle (ed.), Ethics of Humanitarian Interventions. Ontos. pp. 57-80 (2004)

Olaf L. Müller
Humboldt-University, Berlin
Pacifists and their opponents disagree not only about moral questions, but rather often about factual questions as well—as seen when looking at the controversy surrounding the crisis in Kosovo. According to my reconstruction of pacifism, this is not surprising since the pacifist,legitimately, looks at the facts in the light of her system of value. Her opponent, in turn, looks at the facts in the light of an alternative value system, and the quarrel between the two parties about supposedly descriptive matters never ceases, as there is no objective reality about the war in question that could settle the issue.In my view, the pacifist's value-laden way of looking at reality implicitly obeys three epistemic imperatives. First, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Human Nature ("Resist demonizing the other side; always try to understand the case from the other point of view"). Second, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Non-Violent Alternatives ("Always search for non-violent alternatives to military action"). Third, the Epistemic Imperative concerning Uncontrolled Escalation ("Hone your senses to the uncontrolled, irreversible side effects of military action, particularly to the danger of military escalation leading to another world war"). Objective reality has no way of telling us how far we should go in following these imperatives. Rather, we have to make the decision about how far we are going to take them ourselves. In this way, the pacifist's epistemic imperatives are comparable to Kant's regulative principles.
Keywords Pacifism  Humanitarian Intervention  Consequentialism  Utilitarianism  Entanglement of Fact and Value  Ontological Parsimony  Regulative Principle   Kosovo  Immanuel KANT  Hilary PUTNAM
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