Confronting Evils: Terrorism, Torture, Genocide

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-08-23
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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In this new contribution to philosophical ethics, Claudia Card revisits the theory of evil developed in her earlier book The Atrocity Paradigm (2002), and expands it to consider collectively perpetrated and collectively suffered atrocities. Redefining evil as a secular concept and focusing on the inexcusability - rather than the culpability - of atrocities, Card examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values. This stimulating and often provocative book contends that understanding the evils in terrorism, torture and genocide enables us to recognise similar evils in everyday life: daily life under oppressive regimes and in racist environments; violence against women, including in the home; violence and executions in prisons; hate crimes; and violence against animals. Card analyses torture, terrorism and genocide in the light of recent atrocities, considering whether there can be moral justifications for terrorism and torture, and providing conceptual tools to distinguish genocide from non-genocidal mass slaughter.

Author Biography

Claudia Card is Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil (2002), The Unnatural Lottery (1996), Lesbian Choices (1995), and more than 100 articles and reviews. She has edited several books, including The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir (Cambridge, 2003).

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgementsp. xi
List of acronyms and abbreviationsp. xviii
The concept of evilp. 1
Inexcusable wrongsp. 3
The Atrocity Paradigmp. 5
Demythologizing evil: Arendt, Milgram, and Zimbardop. 10
Overview of revisionsp. 16
Moral excusesp. 18
Ordinary evilsp. 24
Institutional evil: the case of the death penaltyp. 27
Between good and evilp. 36
Kant's theses on radical evilp. 37
Kant's moral excluded middlep. 40
Evils vs. lesser wrongsp. 46
Two ways to lack unity in the willp. 50
Gray zonesp. 56
Diabolical evil revisitedp. 57
Complicity in structural evilsp. 62
Collectively perpetrated evilsp. 62
Institutions and social structurep. 68
Oppressionp. 71
Structural groupsp. 76
Complicity in evil practicesp. 82
To whom (or to what) can evils be done?p. 88
Contexts and problematic casesp. 88
Harm and well-beingp. 95
What makes harm intolerable?p. 100
Degradation and the capacity approach to harmp. 103
Trees as victimsp. 106
The ˘lives÷ of ecosystems, species, and Gaiap. 110
Harm to human groupsp. 114
Concluding questionsp. 117
Terrorism, torture, genocidep. 121
Counterterrorismp. 123
Hobbesian and Kantian approachesp. 125
International rules of war vs. subjective improvisations of terrorismp. 136
The military model of countetterrorismp. 138
An analogy with private counterterrorismsp. 141
Justice for the unjustp. 145
Low-profile terrorismp. 149
Two models of terrorismp. 151
War on terrorism and the group target modelp. 157
Rape terrorismp. 159
Beyond the two modelsp. 162
How terrorism worksp. 166
Conscientious torture?p. 173
The revived torture debatesp. 176
The misnamed ˘one-off÷ casep. 183
Dershowitz, the ticking bomb, and torture warrantsp. 186
The failures of excuses for conscientious torturep. 193
Ordinary torturep. 205
The experience of Jean AmÚryp. 208
The UN definitionp. 210
Applying the UN definition to the ˘clean÷ techniquesp. 213
Five kinds of ordinary, mostly civilian, torturep. 224
What Bentham's definition missesp. 234
Genocide is social deathp. 237
Prologuep. 237
The concept of genocide and philosophical reflection on genocidep. 241
The murder of groupsp. 246
The UN definition of ˘genocide÷p. 255
The specific evil of genocidep. 261
Genocide by forced impregnationp. 267
A paradoxp. 267
The Brana plan for ethnic cleansingp. 268
How can expulsion and mass rape aimed at expulsion be genocidal?p. 272
˘In whole or in part÷p. 276
Hate crimes and assimilationsp. 280
The ˘logical glitch÷p. 283
Sperm as a biological weaponp. 287
Bibliographyp. 294
List of films referred top. 312
List of websites for international documentsp. 314
Indexp. 316
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