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Opportunistic Terrorism

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This paper critically addresses two central aspects of Frances Kamm’s account of conceptual and evaluative issues of terrorism in ‘Terrorism and Intending Evil’, Ethics for Enemies (oup 2011), chapter 2. The paper engages with what Kamm says about cases in which an act done from a morally bad intention or motive overtly exactly mimics a justifiable act. I argue that in such a case, an actor’s intention to terrorise is more significant to the question of whether what he or she does is a terrorist act than Kamm allows. I also press considerations that run counter to Kamm’s view that in such cases an actor’s intention or motive is not directly relevant to the moral permissibility of actions that harm other people who are not otherwise liable to receive that type and degree of harm.

Affiliations: 1: Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University,


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