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3 Walzer response co - Philosophia(2006 34:1921 DOI 10.1007/s11406-006-9006-z Response to Jeff McMahan Michael Walzer Published online 4 August

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Response to Jeff McMahan Michael Walzer Published online: 4 August 2006 # Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006 I don _ t quite know how to respond to Jeff McMahan _ s critique of my terrorism essay since I don _ t think that I am making the kind of argument he thinks I am making. I do indeed offer a definition of terrorism, but my definition is meant to apply only to most cases; I don _ t mean to provide an account of what terrorism essentially is. I suppose that I should have written with more qualifiers, but my intentions, I think, are clear enough. And it is explicitly B from the perspective of the victims ^ that I describe terror as a B totalizing practice. ^ So Jeff McMahan _ s twin assertions about B truth ^ leave me unmoved. I agree with both of them: It _ s not a factual truth that terrorists can _ t act for limited ends, and it _ s not a conceptual truth that when they do act for limited ends they are not terrorists. I only want to suggest what terrorism commonly signifies in the real world most importantly, what it signifies to the men and women who are threatened by it. When I look at marginal cases, like the IRA, I try to show how my suggestion might work in those cases, not to offer a definitive account. I do believe that B most often they [the terrorists] have the totalizing intentions that their actions signal. ^ But not always and not necessarily. The exceptional example doesn _ t bother me, since I am not looking for eternal or necessary truths. The case is similar with my claim that terrorists make identity the basis of liability, B and that _ s a connection that we are morally bound to resist. ^ I mean B identity ^ as it is understood in contemporary political discourse as in B identity politics. ^ I don _ t mean to rule out all possible connections in all hypothetical worlds or even in the real world. There are indeed names or titles that we might connect to an individual, and there are
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2011 for the course PHILOSPHY 106 taught by Professor Mcmahan during the Fall '10 term at Rutgers.

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3 Walzer response co - Philosophia(2006 34:1921 DOI 10.1007/s11406-006-9006-z Response to Jeff McMahan Michael Walzer Published online 4 August

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