The cognitive geometry of war

In Peter Koller & Klaus Puhl (eds.), Current Issues in Political Philosophy: Justice in Society and World Order. Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky. pp. 394--403 (1997)
When national borders in the modern sense first began to be established in early modern Europe, non-contiguous and perforated nations were a commonplace. According to the conception of the shapes of nations that is currently preferred, however, nations must conform to the topological model of circularity; their borders must guarantee contiguity and simple connectedness, and such borders must as far as possible conform to existing topographical features on the ground. The striving to conform to this model can be seen at work today in Quebec and in Ireland, it underpins much of the rhetoric of the P.L.O., and was certainly to some degree involved as a motivating factor in much of the ethnic cleansing which took place in Bosnia in recent times. The question to be addressed in what follows is: to what extent could inter-group disputes be more peacefully resolved, and ethnic cleansing avoided, if political leaders, diplomats and others involved in the resolution of such disputes could be brought to accept weaker geometrical constraints on the shapes of nations? A number of associated questions then present themselves: What sorts of administrative and logistical problems have been encountered by existing non contiguous nations and by perforated nations, and by other nations deviating in different ways from the received geometrical ideal? To what degree is the desire for continuity and simple connectedness a rational desire, and to what degree does it rest on species of political rhetoric which might be countered by, for example, philosophical argument? These and a series of related questions will form the subject- matter of the present essay
Keywords Ethnic cleansing  War  Causes of war  Geographic boundaries
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,472
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
19 ( #277,739 of 2,210,836 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #355,701 of 2,210,836 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature