Monday, October 22, 2007

Some Terrain to Cover

We'll be investigating some more of the issues of morals in war. For now a bird's eye view of some of the terrain:
  • The definition of "terrorism." If the bombing of Hiroshima wasn't terrorism, then nothing is.
  • Nagel's article "War and Massacre." It draws a false dichotomy between utilitarianism and absolutism (Kantianism.) I wouldn't accept either. It also doesn't quite get the difficulty that the "dirty hands" argument poses for Nagel's absolutism.
  • You can filter out impermissible acts of war using Kant's test of universalizability: could you accept that everyone do X in circumstances like this? If so, X is permissible in your view. Nagel covers some of this ground, though too quickly.
In any case, next we'll pick up the thread left by the previous post.