Warfare and Terrorism: Philosophical Investigation

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 2
Words: 294
Reading time:
< 1 min

Though warfare and terrorism are defined as the forms of armed conflict, the aim of which is to defeat an enemy, the difference between them, including the frequency and intensity of violence, cannot be neglected. Compared to war, terrorism is characterized by asymmetrical nature without a clear beginning and end. The doctrine of double effect also helps make this distinction, suggesting that terrorism or warfare is an act of violence for one person and a step to freedom for another person. Walzer suggests a new moral dilemma by asking how to choose between the two courses of action if both are defined as wrong in advance. In his turn, Primoratz distinguishes five types of killing, namely killing intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, negligently, and accidentally. The law distinguishes them by intention, the possibility to foresee, and awareness of the outcomes.

Consequentialism is an ethical theory that aims at judging human actions in regards to rationally expected consequences. In reference to this definition, consequentialism violates such fundamental moral beliefs as the individual’s right to life, respect for people, the distinction between guilt and innocence, and moral equality. For example, the right to life and the necessity to understand guilt and innocence are violated in terms of the intentions of people and the consequences. A terrorist aims at killing people to achieve his goal and proclaim his rights and freedoms. On the one hand, consequentialism protects the actions of the terrorist and defines him as an innocent person who contributes to personal interests or even the interests of his country. On the other hand, this terrorist takes someone’s life and becomes guilty because of the violation of the right to life. In this situation, consequentialism seems to contradict both fundamental rights.