Uwe Steinhoff, On the Ethics of War and Terrorism

Author
Jerome Slater
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Political Science Quarterly
Volume
123
Issue Number
4
Publication Date
Winter 2008 - 09
Institution
Academy of Political Science
Abstract
Can terrorism, defined to mean “the direct attack on innocents for political purposes,” ever be justified? Uwe Steinhoff, a political philosopher at Oxford University, argues that there are indeed some circumstances in which the answer may be yes. Much of his analysis focuses on traditional just-war theoryʼs prohibition of attacks on noncombatants, and what he considers to be its unconvincing equation of noncombatants with “innocents,” who by virtue of their innocence must be immune from attack, even in a defensive just war. In essence, his argument is that adult civilians who support an aggressive and unjust war carried out by their democratically elected government are not truly innocent. He has in mind Israelis and Americans, and I shall argue that this creates real problems in his argument
Topic
Terrorism, War
Political Geography
America