Violence in a spirit of love: Gandhi and the limits of non-violence

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (3):303-324 (2012)
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The paper considers how Mahatma Gandhi?s Law of Ahimsa (or non-violence) can be reconciled with the necessity of violence; some of the strategies that Gandhi adopts in response to this problem are critically examined. Gandhi was willing to use (outward) violence as an expedience (in the sense of necessity), but he was opposed to using non-violence as an expedience. There are two versions of Gandhi?s doctrine. He makes a distinction between outward violence and inner violence. Both versions grant that outward violence is often necessary and must be administered with compassion. On the more demanding version, outward version is never justified, not even when it is necessary; it is at best excused or pardoned. On the less demanding version, outward violence under certain conditions is justified



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