Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)


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In short, it is quite content to live in a state of nature with other nations, just as long as it can remain the King of Beasts. There are at least two additional sites in the Kantian texts that I have been considering which seem to me uncannily relevant to the current global state of affairs, the state of American hegemony, and which I would like briefly to consider before moving on from these texts.

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The first of these, Kant's views about democracy, is often passed over in embarrassed silence by Kant scholars, while the second, about the colonization of South Africa, the Pacific Islands, and America, is an especially courageous application of principle that is usually paid less attention than it undoubtedly deserves. It is hence perfectly possible, according to Kant, for a monarchy to be republican in form.

On the other hand, it is impossible for the form of authority called democracy to be anything other than despotic, since democracy as he understands it, that is, in sensu stricto, has no separation of powers, so that disagreement is suppressed. I do not wish to enter such murky waters here. All that I wish to suggest is that recent events have made it a good deal easier for us contemporaries to understand how a self-proclaimed "democracy" such as the United States may act despotically and in fact become despotic, especially when the constitutionally established separation of branches breaks down as both Congress and the judiciary defer increasingly to an ever more powerful Executive.


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The final small point in Kant's texts on war and peace to which I wish to draw special attention is to be found in the paragraph just prior to the Conclusion of The Metaphysical Elements of Justice. Here, we find the most straightforward imaginable expression of condemnation of the way in which America was founded. Kant says that the encroachment of hunting tribes, such as the American Indians, who depend on large tracts of land to survive, should only be accomplished through contract, not violence, and even then only through a contract that involves what we would today call "informed consent.

In other words, he clearly recognized the damnosa haereditas under which we still labor today. The Law of Peoples was written by a self-styled Kantian. Throughout his career, in fact, Rawls was, if I may be permitted a certain irreverence, a Kant "wannabe. In particular, Rawls invokes Kant's authority to reinforce his own opposition to strong cosmopolitanism, so to speak, that is, the ethical view that endorses an eventual world state. The differences in these texts reproduce, at least in part, the differences between Kant's views of and those of , but, again, I do not want to insist on any of this.

In any case, Rawls' Law of Peoples tries to have it both ways, that is, to be both Kantian on the one hand, and original along the lines of Rawls' earlier work on the other hand, and I think that it fails rather spectacularly in both respects. Since I have discussed this work elsewhere, inter alia in at least one critical review that is soon to be published, I do not wish to go over old ground once again, except en passant.

It is clear that Rawls in his later years was obsessed with the problem, which was treated in his earlier work, A Theory of Justice , as real but relatively minor, of the existence of entire communities, especially religious communities, which completely abjure his approach of rational consensus through reflective equilibrium. As a consequence The Law of Peoples is focused above all on the need to find a formula whereby "peoples" who are "not like us" and are in fact, as we know but they do not, inferior to "us" can nevertheless be treated with some modicum of respect and, as Hegel and Honneth would put it, Anerkennung.

Rawls' book therefore finesses, like Kant's work, the problem of vastly unequal resources, and it sometimes does so in grotesque ways that I have documented elsewhere. I pass in silence, as Cicero would put it, over a couple of extremely problematic aspects of Rawls' usage of this deliberately vague term, "peoples," here.

Rawls' The Law of Peoples also reflects a fixation, on his part, with so-called "rogue" or "outlaw" states - which are, of course, not "peoples. Kant, as I have already indicated, despised despotisms, but he nevertheless insisted on maintaining a modus vivendi with them while hoping that they will expire, whereas Rawls' approach at least paves the way, as I have shown elsewhere, for the doctrine of pre-emptive war against such "outlaws. Rawls advocates keeping stockpiles of nuclear weapons as long as there are outlaw states on the planet, which he clearly expects to be a long period of time.

In short, this supposed neo-Kantian is more pessimistic than the latest Kant, more favorable to war, conceptually confused in ways that I do not have the space to demonstrate here but that I have shown elsewhere, and an American nationalist and chauvinist to boot. This brings me back to the current situation. Of course, Roger Scruton was correct in saying that a major change has taken place. But exactly what is this change - or, perhaps, several changes?

It is clearly not, as Scruton so dully suggests, the existence of so-called "rogue states. From the standpoint of the "state of nature" conception of the international arena that was held by the Athenian ambassadors as depicted by Thucydides in his Pelopponesian Wars , Melos was a rogue state. As the ambassadors are made to say, "Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. During the Cold War, although near the end of it Reagan did deploy the famous expression, "Evil Empire," the United States government had never, to the best of my knowledge, called the Soviet Union a "rogue state.

So what is new about the current situation?

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Above all, it will be said, it is the types of weapons - new "weapons of mass destruction," nuclear and other, which can be delivered quickly. In that case, of course, as Dostoevsky would have put it, everything is permitted. While reflecting on this situation, I began to imagine committee of inquiry into the conduct of the French secret services prior to the Battle of Agincourt. Where were those services when the French nobility, so badly decimated in that battle, needed them?

Had the intelligence information been available, the British crossbow factories might have been destroyed in time. So perhaps, in other words, the problem of novel weapons is not so new, after all. I am very sure that Kant, even at the age of , would have regarded as deeply unjust the deployment of nuclear weapons, by the few nations that have them, against all the rest.

There remains, as a candidate for novelty as compared with Kant's time, the existence of transnational terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda. To the best of my knowledge, Kant does not take into account the potential relevance of such organizations, although phenomena of this kind really existed long before the modern era. We can have no doubt as to how Kant, with his abhorrence of revolutionary activity, would, or at least, for the sake of consistency, should have regard all such groups, and there is nothing new about them except, perhaps, the more global scope of those operating today in a correspondingly more globalized world.

Nor, of course, is there anything novel, by comparison with Kant's time, about state-sponsored terrorism, such as, among many examples, the treatment of the Palestinians by the current Israeli regime. So, then, is there any validity whatsoever to the intended implication of Scruton's simple-minded claim that conditions have changed, to wit, that Kant, if he were to return to earth today and receive information about the present state of world affairs, would first stand open-mouthed in amazement and then concede that he had been wrong in attempting to proscribe pre-emptive war for all time, and no doubt wrong as well about the desirability of perpetual peace in the non-ironic sense that he humorously distinguished from the ironic one, the peace of the Friedhof, at the beginning of his essay on it?

Well, yes, I have one candidate to propose as a contemporary phenomenon that might just possibly have baffled our philosophical hero and left him speechless. It is the belligerent spirit of the would-be "Empire" of the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Its tendency is, while claiming to be republican in Kant's sense as well as its own, to abide by no laws that it cannot interpret in accordance with its own policy objectives, and to use all the tricks of casuistry that Kant mentioned in order to try to give a veneer of legitimacy, however thin, to its actions.

These actions aim, as George Leaman of the United States Philosophy Documentation Center and many others have shown, to secure continuing military and global supremacy on a global scale over the long term. It is, in short, an historical throwback to the self-aggrandizing, anti-cosmopolitan type of state that Kant most robustly condemned, while being far more powerful than any with which he was familiar or of which, perhaps, he could have dreamed.

Qui sommes-nous? Sens Public - Revue Web. Texte en PDF Tweet. Masquez la colonne info. If you purchase any books from Amazon after linking from this site, Amazon will track your trajectory and part profits will be returned to the ASCP. Thank you for supporting the ASCP community! Furthering this stance, it reconstructs an interpretation of the "violent Sartre" and crafts an alternative response: one that rejects terrorist tactics, preemptive war and Western hegemony through democratization.

In arguing for the need for moral limitations to all violent struggles, and the need for seeing others as ends-for-themselves, it proceeds to outline a response based on existential humanist ethics that can reaffirm our moral compass. Buy This Book From Amazon. Walter Benjamin is universally recognised as one of the key thinkers of modernity: his writings on politics, language, literature, media, theology and law have had an incalculable influence on contemporary thought. Yet the problem of architecture in and for Benjamin's work remains relatively underexamined.

Does Benjamin's project have an architecture and, if so, how does this architecture affect the explicit propositions that he offers us? In what ways are Benjamin's writings centrally caught up with architectural concerns, from the redevelopment of major urban centres to the movements that individuals can make within the new spaces of modern cities? How can Benjamin's theses help us to understand the secret architectures of the present? This volume takes up the architectural challenge in a number of innovative ways, collecting essays by both well-known and emerging scholars on time in cinema, the problem of kitsch, the design of graves and tombs, the orders of road-signs, childhood experience in modern cities, and much more.

Engaged, interdisciplinary, bristling with insights, the essays in this collection will constitute an indispensable supplement to the work of Walter Benjamin, as well as providing a guide to some of the obscurities of our own present.


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Few thinkers have made such significant contribution to social and political thinking over the last three decades as Axel Honneth. His theory of recognition has rejuvenated the political vocabulary and allowed Critical Theory to move beyond Habermas.

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The book will be an indispensable resource for anyone interested in contemporary philosophy and the social sciences. This volume brings together international scholars working at the intersection of Spinoza studies and critical and feminist philosophy. It is the first book-length study dedicated to the re-reading of Spinoza's ethical and theologico-political works from a feminist perspective.

The twelve outstanding chapters range over the entire field of Spinoza's writings—metaphysical, political, theological, ethical, and psychological—drawing out the ways in which his philosophy presents a rich resource for the reconceptualization of friendship, sexuality, politics, and ethics in contemporary life. The clear and accessible Introduction offers a historical sketch of Spinoza's life and intellectual context and indicates how Spinoza s philosophy might be seen as a rich cultural resource today.

Topics treated here include the mind-body problem and its relation to the sex-gender distinction; relational autonomy; the nature of love and friendship; sexuality and normative morality; free will and determinism and their relation to Christian theology; imagination and recognition between the sexes; emotion and the body; and power, imagination, and political sovereignty. The essays engage in a rich and challenging conversation that opens new paths for feminist research. The first edition of The Mind and its Discontents was a powerful analysis of how, as a society, we view mental illness.

In the ten years since the first edition, there has been a growing interest in the philosophy of psychiatry, and a new edition of this text is more timely and important than ever. In The Mind and its Discontents , Grant Gillett argues that an understanding of mental illness requires more than just a study of biological models of mental processes and pathologies.

As intensely social animals, he argues, we need to look for the causes of human mental disorders in our interactions with others; in social rule-following and its role in the organization of mental content; in the power relations embedded within social structures and cultural norms; in the way that our mental life is inscribed by a cumulative life of encounters with others. Drawing upon work from within the philosophy of mind, epistemology, post-modern continental philosophy, and philosophy of language, he tries to elucidate the nature of psychiatric phenomena involving disorders of thought, perception, emotion, moral sense, and action.

Within this framework, a series of chapters analyze important psychiatric disorders, such as depression, attention deficiency, autism, schizophrenia, and anorexia.

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Along the way, Gillett explores the nature of memory and identity; of hysteria and what constitutes rational behavior, and of what causes us to lavel someone a psychopath or deviant. Through building relationships between philosophy, cultural studies and communities of integrated dance theatre practice, Anna Hickey-Moody argues that dance theatre devised with and performed by young people with and without intellectual disability, can reframe the ways in which bodies with intellectual disability are known.

This proposition is considered in terms of classic philosophical ideas of how we think the mind and body, as Hickey-Moody argues that dance theatre performed by young people with and without intellectual disability creates a context in which the intellectually disabled body is understood in terms other than those that pre-suppose a Cartesian mind-body dualism.

Taking up the writings of Spinoza and Deleuze and Guattari, Hickey-Moody critiques aspects of medical discourses of intellectual disability, arguing that Cartesian methods for thinking about the body are recreated within these discourses. Further, she shows that Cartesian ways of conceiving corporeality can be traced through select studies of the social construction of intellectual disability.

The argument for theorising corporeality and embodied knowledge that Hickey-Moody constructs is a philosophical interpretation of the processes of knowledge production and subjectification that occur in integrated dance theatre.

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Knowledge produced within integrated dance theatre is translated into thought in order to explore the affective nature of performance texts. This book is essential reading for those interested in theories of embodiment, disability studies and dance. The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze is increasingly gaining the prestige that its astonishing inventiveness calls for in the Anglo-American theoretical context.


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His wide-ranging works on the history of philosophy, cinema, painting, literature and politics are being taken up and put to work across disciplinary divides and in interesting and surprising ways. However, the backbone of Deleuze's philosophy - the many and varied sources from which he draws the material for his conceptual innovation - has until now remained relatively obscure and unexplored.

This book takes as its goal the examination of this rich theoretical background.

Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)
Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy) Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism (Studies in Philosophy)

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