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1. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jack Grimes, Kyle Klemme Editors’ Introduction
2. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Susanna Siegel Vigilantism and Political Vision
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Vigilantism, commonly glossed as “taking the law into one’s own hands,” has been analyzed differently in studies of comparative politics, ethnography, history, and legal theory, but has attracted little attention from philosophers. What can “taking the law into one’s hands” amount to? How does vigilantism relate to mobs, protests, and self-defense? I distinguish between several categories of vigilantism, identify the questions they are most useful for addressing, and offer an analysis on which vigilantism is a kind of political initiative done for the sake of enacting an immediate realignment of power in a polity in accordance with a political vision. In addition to defining a special kind of political initiative, my analysis helps us understand a range of rhetorical powers related to vigilantism, including some of the ways that attributions of vigilantism can mask instances of self-defense, and attributions of self-defense can mask instances of vigilantism.
3. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Sally J. Scholz Sexual Violence in Conflict Situations as Structural Injustice: Post Bellum Considerations
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Jus post bellum, a relatively new addition to the just war tradition, offers a set of principles to ensure a just peace. The jus post bellum principles establish important guidelines for punitive and transitional justice in the wake of unjust aggression. However, sexual violence during conflict highlights some of the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. Using the jus post bellum principles, I offer some suggestions for what might be required regarding punishment, compensation, and rights vindication for both individuals and communities, highlighting throughout the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. I then argue that post bellum considerations need to account for the structural injustices of sexual violence in conflict situations. Doing so supports important social justice initiatives proposed for a global response to sexual violence in conflict aimed not only at punishment but at prevention.
4. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Eric Patterson The Afghanistan War and Jus Post Bellum: A Look at 3 Milestones for Peace & Security
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How should we think about justice at war’s end (jus post bellum) in the case of Afghanistan in 2022 and beyond? The basic principles of jus post bellum include order, justice, and conciliation; and there have been numerous policy attempts to realize these principles since the fall of the Taliban and flight of al Qaeda in December 2001. With the precipitous abandonment of Afghanistan by the Biden Administration and other allies in 2021, we have a sober opportunity to reflect on three periods of jus post bellum efforts: an initial humanitarian and human security phase (2002–2005); the surprising resilience of the Taliban and efforts at some sort of national grand bargain circa the 10-year mark (2009–2012); and now a future based upon Western withdrawal and the re-emerging dominance of the Taliban.
5. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Carlos Alberto Sánchez Impoverishing Moral Ecologies: The Case of Mexican Narco-Culture
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In this paper I consider the notion of “moral ecology” in relation to the social/cultural construction known as “narco-culture.” My claim is that the moral ecology of narco-culture is one that is both destructive and prohibitive of human flourishing. The general idea of a “moral ecology” is that the moral space of human conviviality is not unlike an ecological, or environmental, space—both are constituted by various interdependent relations which, when working harmoniously and in optimal capacity, maintain the overall well-being of its inhabitants (i.e., human agents or the flora and fauna). Within non-human ecosystems, the quality or health of rivers, trees, earth, air, predator-prey relationships, etc., define what Allen Hertzke calls the system’s “carrying capacity.” The carrying capacity refers to what the system can handle while staying balanced and healthy and also indicates the point beyond which the system, if overburdened or degraded, begins to fall apart. In a social setting, the ecology is constituted by moral rules and behaviors, the degradation of which can cause the degradation of the entire system.
6. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jovana Davidovic, Kyle Klemme An Interview with Jovana Davidovic: Human Rights and the Moral Responsibilities of War
7. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jason Gardner Against Enemies: A Negative Politics for Contentious Times
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The world is a contentious place, both politically and personally. As a result, virtually all people have enemies both at home and abroad. This essay argues that we should annihilate these enemies, all of them, future as well as present, and do so forthwith. It begins with a metaphysical sketch of enemies, which reveals how such an annihilation is possible and much easier than we generally suppose. It continues by arguing, first, that general prudential considerations yield a prima facie case that it is in our best interest to annihilate our enemies and, second, that moral reasons require this because enemies are persons. The essay ends by briefly considering some implications of this destructive proposal.
8. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Gerald Lang Defensive Liability and the Moral Status Account
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Jonathan Quong argues for the “moral status” account of defensive liability. According to the moral status account, what makes it the case that assailants lack rights against the imposition of defensive violence on them is that they are treating defenders as if those defenders lack rights against the imposition of aggressive violence on them. This “as if” condition can be met in some situations in which one person, A, commands very good but factually inaccurate evidence that another person, B, poses a lethal danger to her. In this “Mistaken Attacker” case, A will be entirely blameless. Nonetheless, A is defensively liable, because A assumes that B is defensively liable despite the fact that B is not defensively liable. In other cases, A may threaten B, who is innocent and hence defensively non-liable, without treating B as if B lacks rights. For example, in the “Conscientious Driver” case, A may have lost control of her car, having taken all due precautions, and be posing a lethal threat to an innocent pedestrian, B, but A is not treating B as if B lacks rights because B’s interests have already been taken fully into account in arriving at the verdict that careful driving is morally permissible. In this paper, I explore and criticize Quong’s account. I argue that the distinctions Quong draws between Conscientious Driver and Mistaken Attacker cannot be sustained in ways that uphold the moral status account, and I suggest that the moral status account’s focus on the “as if” condition is morally undermotivated. The drift of my argument is that we should take much more minimal accounts of defensive liability more seriously than we typically do.
9. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Shawn Kaplan Nonviolent Protesters and Provocations to Violence
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In this paper, I examine the ethics of nonviolent protest when a violent response is either foreseen or intended. One central concern is whether protesters, who foresee a violent response but persist, are provoking the violence and whether they are culpable for any eventual harms. A second concern is whether it is permissible to publicize the violent response for political advantage. I begin by distinguishing between two senses of the term provoke: a normative sense where a provocateur knowingly imposes an unjustified risk of a violent response, and a descriptive sense where the respondent feels provoked. I argue that, when the risk of a violent response is justified, the protesters are not provocateurs but akin to nonculpable, entrapping agents who create an opportunity for the regime to respond with disproportionate violence. The regime’s response can disclose its brutality or criminality, and this can be fairly publicized for political advantage. When nonviolent protesters create an unjustified risk of violence either because the injustice they oppose is insufficient to justify the risk of a violent response or because the risked harms are disproportionate with the likely political advantages derived from the protest, they are partially culpable provocateurs. However, I argue these partially culpable provocateurs can still permissibly publicize the disproportionate violence of the regime so as to shape public opinion.
10. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jonathan Parry, Kate Farmer, Jack Grimes An Interview with Jonathan Parry: Authority in War and the Ethics of Wrongful Observation
11. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Peter Olsthoorn Killing from a Safe Distance: What Does the Removal of Risk Mean for the Military Profession?
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Unmanned systems bring risk asymmetry in war to a new level, making martial virtues such as physical courage by and large obsolete. Nonetheless, the dominant view within the military is that using unmanned systems that remove the risks for military personnel involved is not very different from using aircrafts that drop bombs from a high altitude. According to others, however, the use of unmanned systems and the riskless killing they make possible do raise a host of new issues, for instance the question to what extent the willingness to take risks is part of the military profession. This article addresses that existential question, but also the question of whether the elimination of all risk would make the military profession a less moral one. To that end, it juxtaposes the military viewpoint that riskless killing by means of drones is morally uninteresting with the more critical viewthat such riskless killing is in fact highly problematic.
12. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Vittorio Bufacchi Three Questions about Violence
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This article explores three philosophical issues regarding the concept of violence. First, violence is not just an act, it is also an experience. The study of violence should not focus exclusively on understanding actions that cause harm. Instead, a more phenomenological approach is required, one that prioritizes the experience of violence, especially those of victims and survivors of violence. Second, it is necessary to distinguish between “unwanted” and “unconsented” violence. Third, the definition of violence as violation of integrity or wholeness will come into scrutiny. In particular, to what extent does integrity as intactness apply to human beings, and if violence is defined in terms of breaking something intact, can violence be done to something that is already broken?
13. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Yitzhak Benbaji A Just War Theory for a Four-Sided Armed Conflict
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Contemporary just war theory usually addresses armed conflicts between two group agents, assuming that one is an aggressor and the other a defender. This paper discusses conflicts between two ethnonational groups, both of which include defenders (minimalists) and aggressors (maximalists). The normative questions that this essay addresses are two: (1) Are minimalists entitled to join their maximalist conationals in fighting the maximalists on the other side, and if so, in which circumstances? (2) If so, what should minimalists have aimed to achieve by resorting to force and coercion?
14. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Brad Evans, Chantal Meza Immersive: A Violent Interruption to a Visual Silence
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This essay addresses the violence of the digital world through its relationship to the visuality of noise and how it shapes the image of thought. Noting how deep and contemplative silence is integral to any creative and critical process, it fleshes out the ways the hyper-technologization of life is throwing us into an immersive abyss. This represents another indicator in the digital colonization of the human condition, through which the poetic is being completely appropriated by a technological vision for species being. Calling for a revival in attentive silence, it draws upon literary thinkers and artists, to move beyond the mimetic understanding for art (including the mimicry of images and sounds) and reveal the violent depths of digitalization and its total noise seduction which ultimately devour its own content. Over-stimulation thus becomes an audible clamor for lives lost within a digital trace; lives which no longer find they are able to cast any meaningful shadow.
15. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Kate Farmer, Michelle Fath Editors’ Introduction
16. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Judith A. Swanson Marx’s Destruction of the Private by Criticism and Force
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This essay contends that Marx sought to destroy privacy, analyzes his conception of it, and explains why he thought privacy impedes the full development of human beings. Central to his argument is a critique of constitutional states and modern liberalism, which, he maintains, by protecting and justifying individual rights, fail to recognize citizens as species beings.
17. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Matthew Tiessen Privacy, Propaganda, and Digital ID: Why Our Delicate Values Must Be Deliberately Defended
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In this paper I explore privacy as a concept that becomes relevant and sometimes necessary under specific circumstances, but unnecessary in others. Privacy, I suggest, can be thought of as the right to be left alone and is integral to related concepts such as freedom, liberty, and independence. In light of the ongoing expansion of data-mining technologies, business models, and emerging modes of governance, I suggest that privacy is simultaneously more necessary and more at risk than ever. Privacy, in other words, is fragile and must be appreciated, understood, and defended. At the same time, privacy is increasingly an obstacle for businesses, governments, and financial interests, all of whom are eager to extract our data, manage our expectations, and shape and control our desires. To achieve their objectives, I describe how these organizations have long used propaganda and persuasive techniques to shape and manage the opinions, values, and expectations of the public. These days, I argue, the meaning of privacy is being made to evolve in order to bolster these organizations’ interconnected efforts to expand their power and control and to pave the way for the imposition of digital IDs. I also reflect on the way propaganda is being used today, the ways it has been described in the past, and the ways it will evolve in the future—either in defense of freedom, liberty, and independence, or in service of organizations intent on expanding their power and control over managed populations.
18. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Nandita Biswas Mellamphy The Fog of Peace: War on Terror, Surveillance States, and Post-human Governance
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The War on Terror is an ambiguous term that has been used to circumvent the international laws of warfare. Instead of moving toward peace by way of limited warfare, and instead of preserving the independence of war and peace, War on Terror advances by masking itself in a fog of peace; it proliferates by overlapping the logic of “war-time” and “peace-time” operations. The fog of peace—as it shall herein be called—is a condition wherein the uncertainty qua “fog” of war,2 along with its militarized logic, overlaps with and eventually replaces civilian peace-time-and-spaces. The War on Terror is thus not a limiting of war by way of the conventional modern mechanisms of international law and diplomacy; it is a continuation of war by other means, including the use covert, often black-boxed methods of information-capture and surveillance. Globally, states are expanding the powers of intelligence organs and deploying covert mass surveillance programs in the name of counter-terrorism. In this manner, counter-terrorism policies become instruments enabling states to become predatory, especially in relation to civilians. Under the banner of fighting terrorism, peace-time has unwittingly become colonized by the logic of war.
19. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Kevin Macnish, Ethan Harris Surveillance Ethics and the Just-War Analogy: An Interview with Kevin Macnish, conducted by Ethan Harris
20. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Sophia Mihic Privacy, Dobbs v. Jackson, and the Constitutional Politics of Reproduction
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The Supreme Court’s reversal of the right to abortion has significantly changed reproductive rights in the United States, and adversely affected the lives of potentially pregnant persons. The political fragility of the privacy right to abortion also raises questions about the practice and epistemic rules of American constitutionalism itself. In this essay, I situate the history of privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause in the tradition of legal reasoning. With Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, I argue that the majority in Dobbs v. Jackson (2022) departs from this tradition. The upshot of this departure is that we now have a new interpretive language game battling a long established language game of interpretation–battling, that is, a constitutional tradition–in a contest to redefine how disagreement is transacted among justices and between the people and their government.