PHILOSOPHY 87            The Morality of Terrorism            Spring, 2006

Richard Arneson, Professor.

What is "terrorism"?  Under what circumstances, if any, is terrorism morally acceptable?  This course examines theories of just war and just warfare.  The theories aim to specify under what circumstances and in what ways--in the context of waging war-- it is morally acceptable to kill people.  One question that arises here is whether or not there are types of killings and threatened killings that are always wrong, whatever the consequences.  Another question that arises is what it is morally permissible to do when one is threatened by morally wrongful violence, by terrorism, for example.  The aim of the course is to encourage your own thought and reflection on these difficult moral questions.

Class meets Wednesdays 4:00-5:20 p.m. in HSS 7077.

Texts (available at the Price Center Bookstore): Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars.
We will read portions of this book and some further selected essays.  These further readings will either supplied to you by the instructor or made available for downloading.

Requirements: Do the assigned readings; attend the seminar discussions; participate in the discussions. To receove credit for the seminar you must attend and participate in at least five of the six seminar meetings.

Schedule of readings and topics.

April 5.  Terrorism--what is it?  Is it always wrong?
Reading  None required.  Recommended reading:  Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, chapters 2 and 3.

April 12.  Just and unjust war; just and unjust ways of fighting wars.
Reading: Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, chapters 3, 4, and 9.

April 19. Is killing the innocent ever permissible?  May people's moral rights be rightfully violated?
Reading: G. E. M. Anscombe, "War and Murder"; Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, chapter 16, "Supreme Emergency."
Anscombe essay provided by instructor in class.

April 26.  Who is a legitimate target in problematic warfare and self-defense scenarios?
Reading: Robert Fullinwider, "Terrorism, Inocence, and War," Philosophy and Public Affairs Quarterly (Fall, 2001) [click on blue to download; the download includes the entire issue of the journal in which this essay occurs], Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, chapter 11, "Guerrilla War."  Recommended: Judith Thomson, "Self-Defense," Philosophy and Public Affairs (Autumn, 1991).  [click on blue to download].

May 3.  Doubts about just war/just warfare theory.
Reading: Jeff McMahan, "Unjust War" (published under a different title in Ethics (2004) [click on blue to download].
Further recommended reading: Thomas Nagel, "War and Massacre," Philosophy and Public Affairs (Winter, 1972) [click on blue to download].

May 10  What is it morally permissible to do in response to wrongful terrorism and other threats?
Reading: Paul Kahn, "The Paradox of Riskless Warfare," Philosophy and Public Affairs Quarterly (Summer, 2002) [click on blue to download; the download includes the issue containing both the Kahn and Luban essays]; David Luban, "The War on Terrorism and the End of Human Rights,"  Philosophy and Public Affairs Quarterly (Summer, 2002).

Instructor: Richard J. Arneson.  Office 8057 HSS.  Email  Office phone: 858 534 6810
Office hours, spring quarter, Tuesdays 12-1 and Thursdays 3-4.