Many philosophers have considered the nature of man in society and man within the scope of a political process, and the outcomes of these reflections have been very useful in defining treatise on particular workings of political interaction. Kant and John Stuart Mill, have considered whether the “end justifies the means” in regards to specific actions and their desired political outcomes. The views of Kant and Mill relation to the issue of terrorism provide an interesting approach into the issue of political action and if the “end” justifies the “means” in creating political change.
Terrorism can be described as seemingly random acts of violence enacted by an individual or collective for the means of shaping political change or maintaining the current political status in the midst of political change. The central notion of terrorism is that violence defines power. That control can be determined by the use of acts of force, and destruction to gain a specific desired political reaction.
A terrorist might defend their actions using the political and philosophical premises presented by Kant and Mill, by arguing first that their political cause demanded the terrorist actions. Kant believed that the highest task
Kant’s challenge comes from the intrinsic process that man experiences as he moves away from nature and into a public state, based on the fact that man experiences “restless reason, irresistibly driving him on to develop his innate capacities stands between him and that imagined seat of bliss” (Kant 226). Man in society experiences both the tendency and desire to come together as a collective and the constant resistance that threatens to break up the same society.
The other theory is utilitarianism. Developed by the 19th-century British philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, it sacrifices the individual to the collective. Terrorism as a segment of collective action can be supported by Utilitarian arguments. If the terrorist...