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1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
John Rowan Preface
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2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
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part i: terrorism: potential justifications, reasonable responses
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Ted Honderich Terrorism For Humanity
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This paper takes forward reflections begun in my book After the Terror and then continued in a paper, “After the Terror: A Book and Further Thoughts.” Maybe this third offering on the terrible subjects in question will be the last from me for a while—despite my not having got as close as may be possible to proofs or the like of some principal propositions. It must be easier to deal with the terrible subjects if strong moral convictions about Palestine or whatever come together with great confidence about the very nature of moral philosophy and the possibility of proofs. Still, silence or hesitancy is not an option.
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Whitley R. P. Kaufman Terrorism, Self-Defense, and the Killing of the Innocent
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In this essay I analyze and defend the common sense moral conviction that terrorism, i.e., the use of violence against civilians for political or military purposes, is always morally impermissible. Terrorism violates the fundamental moral prohibition against harming the innocent, even to produce greater overall good. It is therefore just the sort of case that serves as a refutation of consequentialist moral theories. From a deontological perspective, the only remotely plausible forms of justification for a terrorist act would be that it constitutes a form of justifiable punishment of the guilty, or that it is legitimate self-defense against an aggressor. But an examination of the fundamental moral and legal principles of punishment and self-defense demonstrates that neither of these claims can succeed. Since terrorism cannot be justified either as punishment or as self-defense, it cannot be morally justified at all.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Todd Calder Evil, Ignorance, and the 9/11 Terrorists
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In this paper I consider the excuse of ignorance as a justification for acting in a way that would otherwise be evil. My aim is to determine when ignorance precludes us from evildoing and when it does not. I use the 9/11 terrorist attack on America as a case study. In particular, I consider whether the 9/11 terrorists were precluded from evildoing because they thought they were doing right and thus were ignorant about the true nature of their actions. The paper begins with a discussion of the nature of evil. I argue that the 9/11 terrorists were not precluded from evildoing by their ignorance because they were largely responsible forbeing ignorant about the true nature of their actions. They were responsible for their ignorance because they evaded acknowledging information that should have revealed to them the evilness of their plans. They were “self-deceptive evildoers.”
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Richard M. Buck Beyond Retribution: Reasonable Responses to Terrorism
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The very nature of terrorism and the context in which it typically occurs make responding to it much more complicated, morally speaking, than responding to conventional military attacks. Two points are particularly important here: (1) terrorism often arises in the midst of conflicts that can only be resolved at the negotiating table; (2) responses to terrorist acts almost always present significant risks to the lives and well-being of noncombatants. The history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict suggests that its resolution will only come through negotiation. However, Israel has an obligation to secure the safety of its citizens. In this context, responses to terrorism must be judged, morally speaking, by how well they balance the following competing aims: (1) protecting the lives of potential victims of terror; (2) protecting the lives of noncombatants living among the terrorists; and (3) preserving the possibility for negotiating the end of the conflict. My aim in this paper is to show that responses against terrorists need not be retributive in aim, and can therefore satisfy these competing demands.
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Ovadia Ezra Selective Disobedience On The Basis Of Territory
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This paper presents the view of the Israeli “Refusal Movement” known as “Yesh-Gvul.” This movement began when Israel started a war in Lebanon in 1982. Some Israeli reservists refused at the time to join in that war on the basis of the concept of jus ad bellum. In 1987, when the first Palestinian “Intifada” (uprising) began, the Yesh Gvul movement expanded the forms of disobedience it supported, and acknowledged the legitimacy of the refusal to do military service in the “occupied territories” and detention camps in which Palestinians were incarcerated. In 2000, when the second “Intifada” began, Yesh Gvul decided on an additional expansion of the forms of disobedience it supported in expanding the right of disobedience to those who totally refused to serve in the Israeli army. In this paper I want to present a more detailed defense of the justification of these three phases of disobedience that Yesh Gvul supports.
part ii: terrorist motivations, democracy, and human rights
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Alistair M. Macleod Terrorism and the Root Causes Argument
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Without attempting a full-scale definition of “terrorism,” I assume (for the purposes of the argument of the paper) (1) that terrorist acts are politically motivated, (2) that the political goals of terrorists are both diverse and (morally) a “mixed bag,” (3) that terrorist acts inflict deliberate harm on innocent civilians, and (4) that they are therefore to be condemned even when the goals they ostensibly serve are defensible goals. The various versions of the “root causes” argument seek to explain the phenomenon of terrorism, not to justify it. Nevertheless, anti-terrorism strategists must take these explanations seriously and be prepared to adopta suitably broad view of the causal factors that may be involved. Exclusive concentration on the motives of terrorists is a mistake. Also important, for example, are the attitudes of (nonterrorist) members of populations in which there is sympathy for the goals of terrorists without any endorsement of their methods.
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Doug Knapp An Evaluation of the “No Purpose” and some other Theories (such as Oil) For Explaining Al-Qaeda’s Motives
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Various causal factors have been offered to explain the motives behind the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacs on 9/11 and at various other times and places throughout the world. Quite often the reasons or purposes are said to include political, economic, religious and ethnic factors. Often historical factors, such as colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as nationalism, poverty, class divisions and modernization, are included. But some scholars and political figures, quite inconsistently at times, assert that there is no discernable purpose or purposes in these attacks. It is argued, for example, that the sheer magnitude of the death and carnage in the 9/11 attacks suggests no rational purpose in the minds of the perpetrators. The implication is that the Al-Qaeda attacks are allegedly purely irrational. In contrast, I argue that there are flaws and inconsistencies with this No Purpose Theory, and that oil, moreover, shouldn’t be omitted (as it often is) from any plausible broad explanation of the complex mix of causal factors. Needless to say, to suggest that Al-Qaeda had reasons is not to suggest that the reasons were necessarily good or morally justifiable. Then again, among these reasons it is necessary to sort out the goals from the violent tactics so as to discover why, in particular, many Arabs and Muslims sympathize with some of the goals.This whole issue is important because, among other things, if the No Purpose Theory is assumed to be accurate, it would, at least for the problem at hand, eliminate from serious consideration in one fell swoop literally all of the other possible factors (political, religious, economic, etc.). This would be so in spite of the initial reasonableness of the notion that many of these factors have at least some weight or other. But if, contrary to what the No Purpose Theory says, items such as oil are shown to be actually causally important, and are consequently on the table for more extended and open discussion, then there at least would be a better opportunity for more successfully tackling these problems and ameliorating the risk of future terrorist attacks. At least so I will argue.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Matthew R. Silliman Weighing Evils: Political Violence and Democratic Deliberation
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Even if war, terrorism, and other acts of political violence are inherently wrong, in so radically imperfect a world as our own there remains a need, as Virginia Held suggests, to evaluate such acts so as to distinguish between degrees of their unjustifiability. This essay proposes a notion of deliberative democracy as one criterion for such a comparative evaluation. Expanding on an analysis of the psychologically terrorizing impact of violence borrowed from Hannah Arendt, I suggest that it is principally this that makes for the special wrongness of terrorism, though that by itself does not show that it is never necessary.An effort to distinguish clearly the superiority of states over non-state actors (or vice versa) in this regard proves futile, so I conclude that there is no automatic legitimacy to be gained by either sort. It follows that we should weigh an act of political violence on its own demerits irrespective of whether it is done by a state or by a group in opposition to states, and further that we should resist the propagandistic labeling of non-state violence as “evil” or “terroristic,” where such terms beg the question of its relative merits, in context, vis-à-vis state violence.
11. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Walter Riker Rawls’s Decent Peoples and the Democratic Peace Thesis
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In The Law of Peoples, Rawls defends the stability of his proposed international order with the democratic peace thesis. But he fails to extend this thesis to decent peoples, which is curious, since they are a non-temporary feature of his law of peoples. This opens Rawls’s proposal to certain objections, which I argue can be met once we understand fully the nature of the democratic peace. Nevertheless, there is reason to worry about the stability of Rawls’s proposed international order. This worry has little to do with decent peoples, though, and is generated by other features of his law of peoples.
12. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Sharon Anderson-Gold Terrorism and the Politics of Human Rights
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Humanitarian interventions defined as “peace-keeping” missions are becoming an increasingly common occurrence. This paper will consider the relationship between the idea of human rights and the concept of legitimate intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. I will argue that implicit within the concept of human rights are standards of political legitimacy which render all claims to sovereignty “conditional” upon adherence to these standards. After analyzing how both critics and supporters have viewed human rights interventions, I will consider how the “war on terrorism” may contribute to a further extension of the concept of legitimate intervention. I will conclude with reflections on the implications of these interventions for cosmopolitan democracy and the conditions under which it can be realized.
part iii: social philosophy
13. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Nelson P. Lande Trotsky’s Brilliant Flame and Broken Reed
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Trotsky wrote his Terrorism and Communism in 1920, as a response to Karl Kautsky’s book of the same title of the previous year. Trotsky’s aim was to win over, to the side of the Bolshevik view of socialism, the various European socialist political parties. Trotsky’s book is a rare document in the history of political thought. It is a candid and impassioned defense of the Bolshevik view that the period of transition to socialism is incompatible with both individual liberties and democratic institutions as we normally understand them, and requires instead a one-party state with unlimited powers, prepared to use instruments of terror and repression to achieve its goals. In two articles that he wrote in the late 1930s, he elaborated on this view: he sought to provide an explicitly philosophical defense of theBolsheviks’ use of terror and repression.Trotsky’s views merit examination for several reasons: first, because they illuminate the ethical underpinnings of the distinctively Bolshevik view of socialism, and second, because they force one to come to terms with the question of how intelligent, reflective, and decent individuals could have advanced policies that strike us today as ghastly. In this paper I try to piece together Trotsky’s arguments as they bear upon both the Civil War and the immediate postwar period of reconstruction. (Here I focus on his critique of democracy, his defense of terror, and his defense of compulsory labor service and the militarization of labor. This proves to be an ideal point of entry into the ethical considerations that underlie his conception of party and state.) I also examine criticisms of the policies that Trotsky was defending—criticisms that were advanced by Marxists of such disparate stripes as Kaustky, on the one hand, and Rosa Luxemburg, on the other.
14. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Christine Overall Transsexualism and “Transracialism”
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This paper explores, from a feminist perspective, the justification of major surgical reshaping of the body. I define “transracialism” as the use of surgery to assist individuals to “cross” from being a member of one race to being a member of another. If transsexualism, involving the use of surgery to assist individuals to “cross” from female to male or from male to female, is morally acceptable, and if providing the medical and social resources to enable sex crossing is not morally problematic, then transracialism should be morally acceptable, and providing medical and social resources to facilitate race crossing is not necessarily morallyproblematic. To explore this idea, I present and evaluate eight possible arguments that might be given against accepting transracialism, and I show that each of them is unsuccessful.
part iv: nassp book award
15. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Johann A. Klaassen Church and State: Comments and Questions
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16. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Sharon Anderson-Gold American Constitutionalism: A Formula for Religious Citizenship
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17. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
John Rowan Citizenship and Religion In Liberal Democracies
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18. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
Paul J. Weithman Response to Klaassen, Anderson-Gold, and Rowan
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19. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 20
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