This book chapter addresses two questions. First, can targeted killing by drones in non-battlefield zones be justified on basis of just war theory? Second, will the proliferation and expansion of combat drones in warfare, including the introduction of autonomous drones, be an obstacle to initiating or executing wars in a just manner in the future? The first question is answered by applying traditional jus ad bellum and jus in bello principles to the American targeted killing campaign in Pakistan; the second (...) question is answered on basis of principles of “just military preparedness” or jus ante bellum , a new category of just war thinking. It is concluded that an international ban on weaponized drones is morally imperative and, certainly, that an international treaty against autonomous lethal weapons should be adopted. (shrink)
This paper questions the extension of the common notion of violence, i.e., “subjective violence,” involving the intentional use of force to inflict injury or damage, towards social injustice as “systemic violence.” Systemic violence is altogether unlike subjective violence and the work of Slavoj Žižek illustrates that conceptual obfuscation in this regard may lead to an overly broad and facile justification of revolutionary violence as counter-violence to systemic violence, appealing to the ethics of self-defense. I argue that revolutionary violence is only (...) justified to counter subjective violence inflicted or organized by the state. Thus I reject in conclusion Žižek’s further defense of revolutionary violence as retributive and as “shock therapy” necessary to disrupt the old society. (shrink)
Drone warfare, particularly in the form of targeted killing, has serious legal, moral, and political costs so that a case can be made for an international treaty prohibiting this type of warfare. However, the case would be stronger if it could be shown that killing by drones is inherently immoral. From this angle I explore the moral significance of two features of this technology of killing: the killing is done by remote control with the operators geographically far away from the (...) target zone and the killing is typically the outcome of a long process of surveillance. I argue that remote control killing as such might not be inherently wrong but poses the risks of globalizing conflict and prioritizing troop protection above civilian safety, while the “deadly surveillance” aspect of drone killing makes it most clearly intrinsically wrong. (shrink)
Just War Theorists have neglected that a lack of “just military preparedness” on the side of a country seriously undermines its capability to resort justly to military force. In this paper, I put forth five principles of “just military preparedness” and show that since the new Obama administration will seek to maintain the United States’ dominant military position in the world, it will violate each of the principles. I conclude on this basis that we should anticipate that the Obama administration (...) will add another page to the United States’ history of unjust military interventions. (shrink)
My main aim in this paper is to arrive at a defensible form of Marxian or socialist political universalism through a critical examination of Marx's own political universalism. In the next section, I will outline several moral errors that Walzer ascribes to political universalism, including Marx's, and show that Walzer largely misdirects his criticisms because what primarily accounts for Marx committing the errors is his Hegelian metaphysical conception of history, not his political universalism as such.
This essay is part of a symposium on Cheyney Ryan’s The Chickenhawk Syndrome: War, Sacrifice, and Personal Responsibility . Ryan’s reply to his critics can be found on pp. 181-89 in Radical Philosophy Review, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2010.
Harry van der Linden's review of: Unnecessary Evil: History and Moral Progress in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant. By Sharon Anderson-Gold. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001. Pp. xiii, 138. ISBN 0-7914-4819-3 $50.50; 0-7914-4820-7 $17.95.
The gap between the affluent and the global poor has increased during the past few decades, whether it is measured in terms of private consumption, income, or wealth. One would expect that severe poverty in a world of abundance would constitute a moral challenge to the affluent, but in fact it hardly seems a serious ethical concern. Affluent citizens seem so little morally concerned with global poverty. However, the most promising approach seems to be to explore and divulge factually and (...) conceptually the numerous ways in which the affluent are implicated in a wholly unjust world of growing inequality. Changing people's moral perception is an arduous task and it is to be expected that affluent people will only gradually come to morally question their comfortable lives, at least in the absence of environmental or political disasters that might occur in the future. The immense human suffering at stake makes it a duty for moral philosophers to continue to work at and even increase their efforts towards this task. (shrink)
Should the U.N. Security Council use its coercive powers to bring about effective climate change mitigation? This question remains relevant considering the inadequate mitigation goals set by the signatories of the Paris Climate Accord and the ramifications of U.S. withdrawal from the Accord. This paper argues that the option of the unsc coercing climate change mitigation through military action, or the threat thereof, is morally flawed and ultimately antithetical to effectively addressing climate change. This assessment is based significantly on the (...) application of jus ad bellum principles of just war theory, incorporating some feminist critiques of this theory. (shrink)
This review essay discusses three recent books on the Green New Deal, written, respectively, by Naomi Klein, Jeremy Rifkin, and Kate Aronoff and a few other democratic socialists. It argues that the New Deal offers a better model of how to envision the change required for deep carbonization than the vision of war mobilization after Pearl Harbor since it emphasizes not only the need for massive introduction of green technology but also the importance of broad social change constituting a just (...) transition. The essay argues that the GND should be placed in a global context so that the adoption of the GND in the Global North would lead to much greater funding of green developments in the less industrialized countries of the Global South. (shrink)
This paper rejects most aspects of John W. Lango and Eric Patterson’s proposal that the United States should plan for a possible intervention in Sudan on secessionist and humanitarian grounds and announce this planning as a deterrent to the central government of Sudan attacking the people of South Sudan if they would opt in a January 2011 referendum for independence. I argue that secession is not a just cause for armed intervention and that, rightfully, neither the American people nor many (...) of its men and women in uniform would be prepared to engage in an intervention that might easily escalate. I also caution that American intervention against an Islamic regime might have high global security costs. For the sake of avoiding these negative consequences and harm to the people of Sudan, available nonviolent policy alternatives should be pursued. Still, I grant that the global community should intervene in Sudan if mass slaughter of civilians were to occur as a result of renewed hostilities between North and South Sudan. My objections to Lango and Patterson’s intervention proposal appeal to jus ad bellum principles as well as just military preparedness (jus ante bellum) principles. (shrink)
These writings reflect the renewed interest in the 1990s of scholars and the public in questioning the consumer society, an interest that the political crises engendered by 9/11 have overshadowed but not eliminated. In The Overspent American, Schor explains the emergence of strong doubts about high consumption by arguing that a “new consumerism” of escalating desires has evolved that is increasingly costly to the American high consumers themselves.
A discussion of some recent studies that help to explain the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA. Attention is given to two questions: Is Trump is a rightwing populist or closer to a fascist? Relatedly, is Trump a threat to liberal democracy?
This detailed study examines the close cooperation between the two main figures of the Marburg School, Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp, primarily from the time that Natorp came to the University of Marburg in 1880 to write his Habilitationsschrift under Cohen until Cohen’s resignation from Marburg in 1912. It is a common view that during this period Cohen and Natorp were of one philosophical mind: Cohen developed the basic premises of Marburg Kantianism, first in his explications of Kant’s three Critiques, (...) and later in his own philosophical system [Logic of Pure Cognition, Ethics of the Pure Will, and Aesthetics of Pure Feeling ], while Natorp used these premises in his historical studies and in the construction of his social pedagogy. On this account, it was not until Cohen’s departure from Marburg, or even not until the latter’s death, that Natorp’s philosophy began to differentiate clearly from Cohen’s, taking an increasingly metaphysical-mystical turn. Holzhey successfully undermines this view. He shows that during Cohen’s Marburg period Natorp was actually critical of some basic aspects of Cohen’s epistemic logic, ethics, and philosophy of religion, but that Natorp underplayed his disagreements and largely kept them from becoming public. (shrink)
In studying the history of the ethics of war, the just war tradition may be interpreted as a historically evolving body of tenets about just war principles. Instead of a single just war theory, there have been many just war theories—for example, those of Augustine, Aquinas, Vitoria, and Grotius—theories that have various commonalities and differences. A comprehensive history of the evolving just war tradition should feature a thorough study of how these just war theories were rethought. For example, in his (...) landmark work Just and Unjust Wars, written during the Cold War, Michael Walzer exclaimed: “Nuclear weapons explode the theory of just war.” 1 In his rethinking of the just war tradition in light of the superpower practice of nuclear deterrence, he contributed his influential conception of supreme emergency exceptions. Now that the Cold War is over, the authors of the articles in this book are primarily concerned with the question of how the just war tradition—which is understood somewhat differently by the different authors—should be rethought today. Echoing Walzer’s exclamation, among the particular post–Cold War questions that can be raised are these: Is just war theory exploded by terrorism? Is it annihilated by genocide? In their various rethinkings of the just war tradition, our authors state their own particular post–Cold War questions, and answer them from their diverse viewpoints... (shrink)
Although the author concedes that much criticism from the left alleging ulterior imperialist motives of missions for “humanitarian intervention” is valid; nevertheless, the author argues that it would be wrong to rule out the concept of humanitarian intervention, even when conducted by imperialist powers for imperialist motives. The concept of “rescue” remains a valid humanitarian concept, and a logical foundation for solidarity with populations who find themselves under assault and defenseless. The author considers various regulative principles that may guide more (...) careful thinking about humanitarian intervention. (shrink)
Harry van der Linden's review of: Richard L. Velldey, Freedom and the End of Reason: On the Moral Foundation of Kant's Critical Philosophy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1989. Pp. xxi + 222. US$29.95. ISBN 0-226-85260-1.