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Uses of Terror, Waldron

2 Pages

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Philosophy 2083F/G
Frank Cameron

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TERRORISM AND THE USES OF TERROR – JEREMY WALDRON 1  Terrorism is sometimes defined as a form of coercion. But there are important differences between ordinary coercion and terrorist intimidation  While terrorism is not necessarily associated with terror in the literal sense, it does often seek to instill a mental state like terror in the literal sense – one can try to instill terror as an act of punishment  Difficult to agree on a definition of terrorism  What matters is what we do about terrorism, not how we define it  Terrorism is any form of unlawful violent or dangerous act intended to intimidate or coerce governments or populations, then the link with terror and terrorization would seem to be contingent, perhaps just an artifacts of etymology  Terror in terrorism might be largely meaningless – don’t think we should accept this analysis  Some threat situations may not presuppose prior control of the movements of the victim  Three or perhaps four stages to any coercive enterprise  1. The coercer gets the victim in his power so that he can communicate the threat and impose the threatened harm if he has o  2. The coercer demonstrates the threat, by actually imposing harms of the kind that he is threatening  3. The coercer by making the threat affects the decision-making of the victim  4. If the victim defies him, the coercer actually inflicts the harm  Coercion may work through intimidation, that is through inducing fear  Without fear, human choice is empty and unmotivated  On Hobbes’s account, intimidation involves fear- fear of losing something we value  Under conditions of total terror not even fear can any longer serve as an adviser of how to behave 4.  Terrorists often seek to intimidate governments, and governments may not be the sort of things that can be terrorized in the Arendtian sense  Some may aim to inflict terror for its own sake, or because they think allegedly on ethical grounds, that it is preferable that members of the victim-population should e in some mental state other than the arrogant self satisfied complacency which they normally
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