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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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State and Private, Red and White

State and Private, Red and White

(p.123) 6 State and Private, Red and White
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores some quintessentially philosophical questions about violence and terrorism: Is violence “special,” demanding a particular kind of moral treatment? Can a state properly be called “terrorist”? Is there anything worthwhile in the old radical distinction between “red” terror and “white” terror? The chapter begins with a prior question, whether philosophy has anything to contribute to the discussion of violence in the first place. It suggests that the philosophical treatment of violence, and particularly of terrorist violence, suffers more than most political philosophy from a disproportion between the inevitable and proper impracticality of philosophical inquiry and the all too urgent practicality of the problems addressed. The chapter considers the characteristics of terrorist states before concluding with an analysis of the connection between terrorism and ordinary warfare.

Keywords:   violence, terrorism, red terror, white terror, philosophy, political philosophy, terrorist states, ordinary warfare

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