Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism
Routledge – 2010 – 236 pages
Series: Studies in Philosophy
Reinterpreting Sartre’s main methodologies and removing Hegelian dialectics from his notion of violence, this book demolishes the supposed hostile intersubjective relations that characterizes all concrete relations. Furthering this stance, it reconstructs an interpretation of the "violent Sartre" and crafts an alternative response: one that rejects terrorist tactics, preemptive war and Western hegemony through democratization. Based on the latest debate on Sartre’s works on ethics and politics, this project examines the relevancy and new importance they hold for contemporary concerns -- the reactionary nature of terrorism, the extremity of counter-violence, and limitations of democratization efforts -- all claiming to be justified in the name of "freedom" and "liberation." While it is the concern over the "terrorist’" nature of his writings that dominates the current debate, this project starts from the premise that it is as important to ask why violence is unjustified when it can put an end to a situation that disparages humanity. In arguing for the need for moral limitations to all violent struggles, and the need for seeing others as ends-for-themselves, it proceeds to outline a response based on existential humanist ethics that can reaffirm our moral compass.
"Sze has written an interesting book that will undoubtedly be revisited in the coming months within the context of the ongoing struggles in the Middle East and North Africa. Sartre and the Moral Limits of War and Terrorism is yet another example of why Sartre’s writing remains relevant to the twenty-first century, and another reason why, to repeat Sartre’s The Problem of Method, philosophy is always ‘a social and political weapon’." --Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
Acknowledgements Introduction 1: Theoretical Framework 2: Existential Human Reality 3: Violence and Counter-Violence 4: Terrorizing the Other: Terror-Fraternity and Terrorism 5: Responding to 9/11: Counter-Violence and Preemptive War 6: Reflection and Invention When Morality Has Fallen 7: Limits of Democracy Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
Jennifer Ang Mei Sze received her PhD in Philosophy from The University of Queensland.