Humanity and Palestinian Terrorism

Prof. Ted Honderich
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There is a division of labour with respect to questions of right and wrong about the grounds of terrorism, terrorism itself, and responses to it. Analytic philosophy has a part to play. It has a part to play with respect to neo-Zionism, this being the expansion of Israel beyond its original borders, as distinct from Zionism, the founding and defending of Israel within those borders. Can analytic philosophy show that we cannot be guided by a commitment to democracy in thinking of terrorism? That our human nature issues in a kind of proof of the Principle of Humanity, about the necessity of our taking rational means, according to the best knowledge and judgement, to save people from bad lives? There is also the matter of judging actions and policies by their consequences - taking the end to justify the means. And the matter of the killing of innocents. Are relevant questions of fact still more difficult than moral questions? Say the question of fact of whether the Palestinians were fully a people when Israel was founded in 1948? Does a past mistake about that question enter into argument for the conclusion that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism against ethnic cleansing? It does, and it is a moral truth that they do have that moral right. Not all truths should be spoken. Should this one be?

Keywords: To Be Confirmed
Presentation Type: Plenary Presentation in English
Paper: Democracy's Equality

Prof. Ted Honderich

Grote Prof Emeritus Philosophy of Mind & Logic, University College London

Ted Honderich, called Britain's foremost radical philosopher, is internationally distinguished for more than his political philosophy. He has been Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, and a visiting professor at Yale and the City University of New York. His theory of the nature of perceptual consciousness — Consciousness as Existence — is a nearly-physicalist alternative to recent orthodoxy in the philosophy of mind. His publications include: A short book on determinism, ‘How Free Are You?, a summary of ‘A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience and Life-Hopes’, is the most translated book on the subject. ‘The Oxford Companion to Philosophy’, a very widely used single-volume reference work on the subject, has lately come out in a new edition. Three volumes of his papers have also appeared.

His most recent book ‘After the Terror’ caused controversy in Germany and elsewhere for its moral defence of Palestinian terrorism against ethnic cleansing. It was banned by one German publisher and then brought out again by another. Ted Honderich is also the author of a philosophical autobiography, ‘Philosopher: A Kind of Life’.

Ref: H05P0916