While there are no serious arguments in favor of there being no state control whatsoever over the private ownership and employment of firearms, there are significant arguments on the other extreme of the ‘gun control debate’ which contend for bans on the private ownership of firearms or some subset thereof. In this paper I argue that gun ban proponents like Jeff McMahan and Nicholas Dixon confuse the risk or likelihood of being confronted by an attacker intent on serious or lethal (...) harm with the right to defend oneself when faced by such an attacker. When this distinction is properly understood it becomes clear that arguments for the banning of all privately owned guns, or particular classes of guns, cannot stand so long as the firearms in question can be reasonably considered to be an effective means for individuals to defend themselves against attackers intent on serious or lethal harm. (shrink)
In this paper I draw on Thaddeus Metz’s pioneering work in African ethics, and particularly his account of the concept described by the terms ubuntu, botho, hunhu or utu, to sketch an African normative understanding of the act of rebellion against the authority of the state. Most commonly articulated in the phrase “a person is a person through other persons”, ubuntu is interpreted by Metz as a unique communitarian moral principle which can be described in its essence as the claim (...) that “actions are right, or confer ubuntu on a person, insofar as they prize communal relationships, ones in which people identify with each other, or share a way of life, and exhibit solidarity toward one another, or care about each other’s quality of life”. On the face of it, this principle appears at odds with rebellions against state authority. Following Metz, I argue, however, that a deeper grasp of this principle does, in fact, provide a justification for instances of civilian rebellion against state authority, under appropriate circumstances. (shrink)
The possibility of using private military and security companies to bolster the capacity to undertake intervention for human rights purposes has been increasingly debated. The focus of such discussions has, however, largely been on practical issues and the contingent problems posed by private force. By contrast, this article considers the principled case for privatising humanitarian intervention. It focuses on two central issues. First, does outsourcing humanitarian intervention to private military and security companies pose some fundamental, deeper problems in this context, (...) such as an abdication of a state's duties? Second, on the other hand, is there a case for preferring these firms to other, state-based agents of humanitarian intervention? For instance, given a state's duties to their own military personnel, should the use of private military and security contractors be preferred to regular soldiers for humanitarian intervention? (shrink)
abstract David Rodin has recently put forward a compelling but disturbing argument to the effect that the traditional justification in Just War Theory of a state's right to self‐defence (what Rodin calls national‐defence), which is derived from the legitimate case of personal self‐defence, fails. He concludes that the only way to justify forceful responses to aggression against states by other states or non‐state groups is by viewing the right to do so as falling under a form of law‐enforcement, which in (...) turn requires the existence of some overarching universal state. In this paper I argue that there exists a possible justification for national‐defence that Rodin has overlooked due to an underlying commitment to what Charles Taylor calls ‘the primacy of rights thesis’. My claim is that a particular family of views that see human identity as being crucially bound up with society offers the resources to avoid the pitfalls that Rodin points out befall other attempts to justify national‐defence. (shrink)
Over the past twenty years, Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) have become significant elements of national security arrangements, assuming many of the functions that have traditionally been undertaken by state armies. Given the centrality of control over the use of coercive force to the functioning and identity of the modern state, and to international order, these developments clearly are of great practical and conceptual interest. This edited volume provides an interdisciplinary overview of PMSCs: what they are, why they have (...) emerged in their current form, how they operate, their current and likely future military, political, social and economic impact, and the moral and legal constraints that do and should apply to their operation. The book focuses firstly upon normative issues raised by the development of PMSCs, and then upon state regulation and policy towards PMSCs, examining finally the impact of PMSCs on civil-military relations. It takes an innovative approach, bringing theory and empirical research into mutually illuminating contact. Includes contributions from experts in IR, political theory, international and corporate law, and economics, and also breaks important new ground by including philosophical discussions of PMSCs. (shrink)
Few thinkers have had as much impact on contemporary philosophy as has Alvin Plantinga. The work of this quintessential analytic philosopher has in many respects set the tone for the debate in the fields of modal metaphysics and epistemology and he is arguably the most important philosopher of religion of our time. In this volume, a distinguished team of today's leading philosophers address the central aspects of Plantinga's philosophy - his views on natural theology; his responses to the problem of (...) evil; his contributions to the field of modal metaphysics; the controversial evolutionary argument against naturalism; his model of epistemic warrant and his view of epistemic defeat; and his recent work on mind-body dualism. Also included is an appendix containing Plantinga's often referred to, but previously unpublished, lecture notes entitled 'Two Dozen Theistic Arguments', with a substantial preface to the appendix written by Plantinga specifically for this volume. (shrink)
Abstract This paper addresses the teaching of mandatory ethics courses in a military context, with particular reference to the Service Academies of the United States Armed Forces. In seeking to optimize the core ethics course's potential to develop Midshipmen and Cadets' moral reasoning skills I suggest a model that employs case-based scenarios, woven together into a metanarrative, in place of the traditional historical case study and in a manner that gives students deliberate, guided practice in ethical decision-making. The described model (...) also commends a resource- and pedagogy-driven partnership between civilian philosophers/ethicists and senior military officers in teaching the course. Also proposed is the deliberate use of a simple but formal method of applying the central ethical theories usually taught in such courses, what I call ?ethical triangulation?. The employment of Computer Aided Argument Mapping is also recommended. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga's "Warranted Christian Belief" is without question one of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantinga's defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantinga's project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, (...) of these objections can be understood as versions or aspects of the same criticism, what I call the 'Inadequacy Thesis'. (shrink)
This book is an exploration of the content and dimensions of contemporary Continental philosophy of religion. It is also a showcase of the work of some of the philosophers who are, by their scholarship, filling out the meaning of the term Continental philosophy of religion.
Can war be morally justified? What is the philosophy behind armed conflict? How do you conduct an ethical war? And what guides military action as the nature of conflict changes over time? Based on a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) designed for both military personnel and non-specialists across the globe, Key Concepts in Military Ethics is structured as a series of 'mini-chapters' that cover a huge range of topics and issues: moral dilemmas, military and civilian interactions, freedom of the press, (...) peacekeeping, terrorism, and humanitarian intervention. Written by a team of academic experts, many with military experience, the book contains scenarios and case studies, including the Gulf War, the Falklands War, 'Ground Zero' in New York City and more conventional theatres of war through history, as well as cyber-terrorism, the role of military contractors and unmanned weapons systems. (shrink)
In Morality and Ethics of War, which includes a foreword by Major General Susan Coyle, ethicist Deane-Peter Baker goes beyond existing treatments of military ethics to address a fundamental problem: the yawning gap that exists between the diverse moral frameworks defining personal identity in a multicultural society on the one hand, and the professional military ethic on the other. Baker argues that overcoming this chasm is essential to minimising the ethical risks that can lead to operational and strategic failure for (...) military forces engaged in today's complex conflict environment. He contends that spanning the gap is vital in preventing moral injury from befalling the nation's uniformed servants. Drawing on a revised account of what he calls 'the Just War Continuum', Baker develops a bridging framework that combines conceptual clarity and rigour with insights from cutting edge psychological research and creates a practical means for military leaders to negotiate the moral chasm in military affairs. (shrink)
This book addresses one largely overlooked trend in the field of military ethics, the emergence of special operations as a prominent instrument of statecraft. The authors' analysis calls attention to qualities inherent in special operations that challenge the moral framework which informs conventional military operations.
Do not write more than 15 lines for any answer. (5 marks each = 20 marks for this section) 1. Descartes argues that the concept of a vacuum or empty space is incoherent. Briefly explain the reasons he offers for this.
The problem with mercenaries can’t simply be that they do what they do for money. It would be pretty hypocritical to condemn them for providing combat services for money, given that we generally honour and praise those members of our nation’s Armed Forces who fight at the front line – even though theyreceive a pay cheque at the end of every month.
Many believe strongly that states, even democratic states, commit serious moral harm by adopting policies that allow elective abortions. What avenues are available to citizens of those states who oppose such policies? In this paper I contest Nicholas Dixon’s claim that there is only a very limited scope for acts of civil disobedience in response to pro-abortion state policy. While acknowledging that a state policy of not allowing elective abortions imposes significant burdens on pregnant women, I contend that a consistent (...) political liberalism—committed to the idea of state neutrality—must recognize the validity of significant, even invasive, civil disobedience in response to states that follow a policy of allowing elective abortions. (shrink)
United States Army Special Forces who deployed to Iraq in mid-2014, and who were seeking to help Iraqi forces to combat Islamic State faced a considerable challenge: how could a force of fewer than 50 operators provide guidance and support to their Iraqi allies while also keeping in line with Washington’s policy of seeking to avoid any possibility of combat casualties among deployed U.S. Special Forces? Their solution to this dilemma came to be dubbed ‘Remote Advise and Assist’. By cobbling (...) together a system of voice and text communications, cameras, interactive maps and mobile handsets, these Special Forces personnel found they could ‘virtually accompany’ their Iraqi partners into hot zones where U.S. boots on the ground were forbidden. This approach seems to have been extremely successful, but potentially raises a range of ethical concerns. Against the backdrop of a general account of the ethics of employing surrogate forces, this paper explores the ethical questions raised by the practice of ‘Remote Advise and Assist’. (shrink)
Presents a Taylorian critique of the political philosophy in Richard Rorty's book 'Achieving Our Country.' Distinction between the old-guard reformist Left and the new orthodoxy of cultural Leftism; Analysis of pertinent topics and relevant issues; Implications on studies of social and political theory.
E. D. Swinton's The Defence of Duffer's Drift: A Lesson in the Fundamentals of Small Unit Tactics, originally published in 1904, uses the device of a series of recurring but progressive nightmares to teach a set of tactical lessons that Swinton derived from his service in the Second Anglo-Boer War. Now a minor classic, The Defence of Duffer's Drift has had an enduring and international impact. The book's popularity has also led to the publication of several narratives inspired by the (...) original, many of them authored by serving members of the US Army. Although this subset of the ‘progeny’ of Swinton's work are focused on teaching tactical lessons, read together they provide a small but fascinating window into the evolution of the US Army's understanding of the ethics of armed conflict at the tactical level. The texts that are the focus of this paper span a period of 88 years, covering the post-First World War emphasis on positional warfare, through the shift to a focus on large-scale mechanized warfare that.. (shrink)
Alvin Plantingas Warranted Christian Belief is without questionone of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantingas defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantingas project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, of (...) these objections can be understood as versions or aspects of the same criticism, what I call the Inadequacy Thesis. (shrink)
Book review of three book about philosopher Charles Taylor. "Charles Taylor", by Ruth Abbey. Teddington, UK: Acumen, 2000. ISBN: 0691057141. "Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity", by Nicholas H. Smith. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. ISBN: 0742521273. "Charles Taylor: Thinking and Living Deep Diversity", by Mark Redhead. Lanham and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. ISBN: 0745645767. There can be no doubt that Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has made a major contribution to the development of contemporary philosophy and is one of the most (...) influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. Perhaps the most striking feature of his work is its breadth, both in terms of the topics addressed and per-spectives employed. Taylor's work ranges from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies, touching on questions of epistemology, ethics, identity, and metaphysics along the way. He is rare in his ability to bring his deep knowledge of history, ancient culture and religious thought to bear in his philosophical investigations. (shrink)