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Philosophy Notes - Philosophy Notes 9/5 Terrorism Is...

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Unformatted text preview: Philosophy Notes 9/5 Terrorism Is terrorism wrong? We tend to think its wrong Some think its always wrong Some think its permissible What is it? (Examples) Bombs in public places (Belfast, Paris, Madrid) 9/11: destruction of WTC 9/11: attack on the Pentagon Beslan school attack (Sept. 2004) Bombing of marine barracks in Lebanon (1983) IRA killings of British Soldiers Hamas et. al. killings of IDF soldiers Assassination attempts on heads of state Different characterizations Broad vs. narrow conceptions of terrorism Terrorism as: Political violence (broad) A special kind of political violence w/ complex structure (narrow) Narrow political terrorism A kind of violence against property and people for certain ends or purposes Usually a means to certain ends or goals Short-term (release of prisoners) Long-term (political independence) Complex structure 1. Some harm to people (Victims of bomb on a train) 2. In order to terrify a larger population (Civilians who take public transport) 3. In order to affect others (A government0 4. In order to achieve short or long term ends (Political demands) Purpose of terror 1. Terrifying a large group (most civilians) is a means to achieving the terrorist ends 2. Instilling fear in larger population Requires violence that is seemingly arbitrary or random The Victims 1. 2-3 sets of victims People killed or injured People terrorized Those whose interests are setback 2. Most victims are non-combatants As such, they may be innocent Harm to victims is intentional, something aimed at Terrorism in this narrow sense different from political assassination & guerrilla attacks on military targets Political terrorism narrowly defined Violence against property and people for certain ends or goals Instrumental structure, virtually always a means to certain ends or goals Complex structure: harming people targeted arbitrarily, in order to terrorize a larger population perhaps in order to pressure others in order to achieve ones ends Isnt (narrow) terrorism wrong? Narrow terrorism seems wrong Resist label being applied to acts they think defensible o Ex. Dresden, Hiroshima It seems wrong to kill & terrorize innocent people for political ends especially when there are alternative means of bringing about change The characterization offered doesnt itself imply that terrorism is wrong One persons terrorist is anothers freedom fighter What we call terrorism doesnt seem wrong to everyone o A difference of opinion? o A kind of moral relativism Dont terrorists and their supporters think their acts are justified?...
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PHIL 140 taught by Professor ??? during the Fall '08 term at Maryland.

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Philosophy Notes - Philosophy Notes 9/5 Terrorism Is...

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