Is Terrorism Moral?

Is Terrorism Moral?

  • Submitted By: yvjthl
  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2008 12:20 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 2188
  • Page: 9
  • Views: 2

Is terrorism moral? After the September 11th terrorist attacks, the question may seem insulting to some. There are few entirely global issues of public concern that seem to be as discussed as the issue of terrorism. To even begin answering the question we must consider the possibility that a terrorist act by someone we do not like may be justified. Though most people would see terrorism as a bad thing and nothing to be proud of or to support, there may be the double standard of “us versus them” involved in such thinking. The terrorists themselves can argue that they are completely justified in their actions. While it may sound cliché, the line “one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter” does hold some truth to it. Stephen Nathanson makes the claim that terrorism can never be justified and is inherently immoral.

When debating certain issues of morality, philosophers attempt to analyze and clarify the concepts involved, and to analyze, clarify and criticize arguments for and against various positions taken on those issues, as well as moral and other principles and values that compliment those arguments. This is what Nathanson does in his article “Can Terrorism Be morally justified?” Though he believes terrorism to be immoral he asserts that many arguments against terrorism are flawed. According to Nathanson arguments used to justify war can be used to justify terrorism. In the same vein those arguments that condemn terrorism but justify acts of war that result in civilian death are hypocritical. By deconstructing such flawed arguments Nathanson hopes to reconstruct a greater one to legitimately label all acts of terrorism as immoral. Nathanson tells us that “If we are to avoid inconsistency and hypocrisy, we much revise our views either by accepting that terrorism is sometimes morally permissible, or by judging city bombings and many collateral damage killings are morally wrong.”

Before we can decide whether terrorism is immoral, we...

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