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Chapter

Surpreme Emergency

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2083F/G
Professor
Frank Cameron
Semester
Fall

Description
TERRORISM, MORALITY AND SURPREME EMERGENCY – J COADY A DEFINITION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS  Concentrate on one key element in common responses to and fears about terrorism, namely the idea that it involves innocent victims  The organized use of violence to attack non-combatants or innocents or their property for political purpose  I shall call these definition tactical definitions because they focus on the means and intermediate goals used to pursue political ends – other approaches that view terrorism essentially in terms of the use of political violence by those who are unauthorized to use it. I shall call these political status definitions  Wise to preserve the possibility of justified revolutionary violence that can not only plead a just cause but also avoid the taint of terrorism  The just war tradition makes the distinction between combatant and non-combatant or guilty/innocent hinge on answers to the question  Hence it avoids a complete equation between non-combatant or innocent and civilian, and rightly so, since there will be many civilians in armed conflicts  Expression non-combatant has some advantages over the word innocent  Ordinary police force against criminals isn’t terrorist but police can, engage in terrorism when they use violence for political purposes against innocent citizens THE MORAL ISSUES  Terrorism is not the only wrong that political violence can commit  The killing of non-combatants as collateral damage can also be a great wrong  Wrong of terrorism, even on my relatively restricted definition is not undifferentiated  Many contemporary moral philosophers, sympathetic to just war thinking, are war of moral absolutes  Walzer thinks that in conditions of supreme emergency the violation of the norm immunity expressed by the principle of discrimination is permissible in warfare between states, though only with a heavy burden of remorse  Act utilitarianism and certain allied forms of thought hold that all moral constraints are simply rules of thumb that can and should be overruled if calculations of the overall outcomes of so doing show that it is productive of more general happiness than sorrow TWO APPROACHES TO EXEMPTION  Balanced exceptionism various moral principles that are revealed to reflective thought and they give rise to prima facie obligations or prima facie duties – independent of the calculation of consequences  The balanced exceptionist can of course acknowledge that some prima facie duties are stronger than others  Dirty hands – emphasis on the principal focus for the making of exceptiosn to what seem to be powerful moral prohibitions; the second
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