Just War?

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deepthot
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2009 02:52 am
@stew phil,
stew;101678 wrote:
I think this is a very important part of what constitutes a just war. War is just only if the benefits are proportional to the harms done. Much of the war we know today fought by conventional armies use long distance weaponry like artillery, arial bombing e.g. "shock & awe" to mitigate the loss of soldiers and which ends up in unnecessary civilian deaths. This is a prevalent problem of "sufficient force". Israel's extensive use of force against Hamas is such an example.

But there are cases of proportional just wars e.g. UN intervention in Kuwait



Is it possible that the innocent civilians in Iraq who were bombed from planes far above them and died very violent deaths, and lost limbs, during the First Gulf War on Iraq, would reasonably judge that the harm done was excessive - no matter how glorious the result of keeping some oppressive sheiks in power in Kuwait.

Doesn't such a use of excessive force violate one of the necessary conditions of "Just War Theory"?
By my vote, it does violate a necessary condition.

A war is just for us to wage if we - in our own nation - are invaded and occupied ,,,according to Colonel Frank Forest, Ret., a man who taught at a War College, and who laid out the necessary conditions in his book, ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. (Daytona Beach, FLA, 2001), available from the author.

He lists as the prerequisite reasons: Just Cause; Last Resort; Right Intention; Proportionality; and Legitimate Authority and Reasonable Probability of Success.

Furthermore, how can anyone in his right mind argue that the Gulf War was truly a "last resort"?
 
stew phil
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2009 03:42 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot wrote:
Is it possible that the innocent civilians in Iraq who were bombed from planes far above them and died very violent deaths, and lost limbs, during the First Gulf War on Iraq, would reasonably judge that the harm done was excessive - no matter how glorious the result of keeping some oppressive sheiks in power in Kuwait.


Iraq is a different example than the intervention in Kuwait. A case could be made that even though the cause and conduct to intervene in Kuwait was just, the conduct of war which followed in Iraq resulted in a disproportionate number of civilian deaths, and therefore was unjust. The intervention in Kuwait did result in Civillian deaths as well, but it was proportionate to the benefits achieved e.g. liberating Kuwait.

But putting aside the fact that the invasion into Iraq was a measure taken to deter future aggression (arguably a conditional just cause), you stress that the harms involved outweighed any kind of benefits achieved. What about Hussein launching bio chemical SCUD missiles at innocent Kurds? Is disarmament of (then) Hussein's biochemical weapons (which also result in civilian deaths) not a considerable benefit?

I agree, that the U.S army did not pursue all the means it could have to fight a war sufficiently discriminated between the deaths of innocent civilians and soldiers (see doctrine of double effect). But the fact that upon reaching Baghdad, the US army retreated, demonstrates that in some ways Bush Sr. was attempting to act in accordance with just principles for conduct in war. Staying any longer would not have been justified, and inevitably would have resulted in disproportionate harms to benefits. But I'm still not saying it was justified, I'd have to do some research on statistics of the war in Iraq, and whether it was proportional to the benefits achieved (but it probably isn't)

deepthot wrote:

A war is just for us to wage if we - in our own nation - are invaded and occupied ,,,according to Colonel Frank Forest, Ret., a man who taught at a War College, and who laid out the necessary conditions in his book, ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. (Daytona Beach, FLA, 2001), available from the author.

He lists as the prerequisite reasons: Just Cause; Last Resort; Right Intention; Proportionality; and Legitimate Authority and Reasonable Probability of Success.


Aggression which violates the territorial integrity and political soverignty of a nation is only one just cause, but also perhaps the most justifiable cause. But look at how war is being fought today. Most of the wars we observe do not even involve nation state actors. The majority of contemporary wars involve non-state actors e.g. secessionist groups, para-military groups, terrorist organizations etc. This kind of warfare would need to be addressed as well, if some are to be justified or not (see my case of genocide below). So Col. Forest seems a bit out dated on his conceptualization of Just War Theory, that is, if he still believes just wars are today in principle possible.

Again, take the case of Genocide. No state is being invaded, and yet the deaths of innocent civilians is without a doubt horrendous. As I have stated before, does it not seem reasonable, given the genocide being committed, that there is just cause to intervene and forcefully stop the perpetrators? And if we do nothing, we end up with cases like Rwanda and Sierra Leone, which I think strikes the moral intuition of many as deeply worrying. (yet one of the main reasons why intervention is difficult to justify is primarily because of the traditional legal prohibition against violating a states territorial integrity and political sovereignty, but in the case of genocide, does a collective political entity even exist?)


deepthot wrote:

Furthermore, how can anyone in his right mind argue that the Gulf War was truly a "last resort"?


Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and the crime of aggression had already been committed. Just cause to intervene follows from such a violation. Had Iraq not invaded Kuwait, engaging in war to prevent the invasion would not have been a last resort if say diplomacy could resolve the problem.

But there are cases where diplomacy is exhausted, and pre emptive wars are necessarily justified e.g. six day war. But these cases are few and far between, and I personally think just cause for pre emptive strikes should be severely restricted.

I appreciate the discussion.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2009 05:17 pm
@stew phil,
stew;102869 wrote:
... A case could be made that even though the cause and conduct to intervene in Kuwait was just, the conduct of war which followed in Iraq resulted in a disproportionate number of civilian deaths, and therefore was unjust. ...


Thank you.

stew;102869 wrote:
But putting aside the fact that the invasion into Iraq was a measure taken to deter future aggression ...


We can't put this aside !! Remember that Wilson (or was it FDR) said we "are fighting a war to end all war." With an excuse such as the one you give: "a measure taken to deter future aggression" we could be in a perrenial state of warfare. That is not the quality of life I want to live, but maybe some here would settle for that.

Myself, I would prefer to build schools - at no cost to them - among those who need re-education for adaptation to 21st century values and culture. I would even offer them for free textbooks we have written - to go with the schoolhouse.


stew;102869 wrote:

you stress that the harms involved outweighed any kind of benefits achieved. What about Hussein launching bio chemical SCUD missiles at innocent Kurds? Is disarmament of (then) Hussein's biochemical weapons (which also result in civilian deaths) not a considerable benefit?


Are you sure those Kurds were so "innocent"? History says they were in a state of insurrection against the government. Would we behave any differently here than Hussein did against any local "bombers and terrorists" who were in a state of uprising against the government of the USA?

I don't believe we would. ---not that two wrongs make a right...

As far as disarming him of "mass-destructive weapons": that turned out to be a big farce. UN inspectors on the ground looked thoroughly and still could not find any. Yes, chemical weapons can be flushed away, but at great risk to the surrounding populations.
Is it possible some of us here fell for the usual war-inciting propaganda?



stew;102869 wrote:
I agree, that the U.S army did not pursue all the means it could have to fight a war sufficiently discriminated between the deaths of innocent civilians and soldiers (see doctrine of double effect). But the fact that upon reaching Baghdad, the US army retreated, demonstrates that in some ways Bush Sr. was attempting to act in accordance with just principles for conduct in war. Staying any longer would not have been justified, and inevitably would have resulted in disproportionate harms to benefits. But I'm still not saying it was justified, I'd have to do some research on statistics of the war in Iraq, and whether it was proportional to the benefits achieved (but it probably isn't)


Again, thank you. We agree. Everyone needs to do such research. It will be an eye-opener. On the first day, when our troops go in and destroy a library, and/or facilitate a museum later being looted, it is already unjustifiable to any scholar, or lover of the humanities, or conservator of culture. From that moment on, it is unacceptable to the local middle and upper classes. and we can forget about "winning the hearts and minds" of the population.


stew;102869 wrote:
Aggression which violates the territorial integrity and political soverignty of a nation is only one just cause, but also perhaps the most justifiable cause....


"Aggression" is a vague and undefined term here in this thread. Does it never occur to readers that when we behave violently, i.e., use armed "force", that to a martian, WE may be perceived, correctly, as "the aggressor."?
When we occupy a place, by use of violent force, we perhaps WE are "the terrorists", the invaders, the bad guys. It all depends who you are asking.



stew;102869 wrote:
Again, take the case of Genocide. No state is being invaded, and yet the deaths of innocent civilians is without a doubt horrendous. As I have stated before, does it not seem reasonable, given the genocide being committed, that there is just cause to intervene and forcefully stop the perpetrators? ...


Yes, I want to stop the perpetrators !!

If I do it by using armed drones, or bomber-aircraft, as we are wont to do in recent times, rather than engage in hand-to-hand karate, judo, aikido, etc. do not we become "aggressors" and "terrorists"? Yes, let's shoot elephant-tranquilizer darts at the genocidal soldiers, then ship them to retraining camps for intensive rehab; but if we copy their conduct, how are we any better than they????



stew;102869 wrote:
...there are cases where diplomacy is exhausted, and pre emptive wars are necessarily justified e.g. six day war. But these cases are few and far between, and I personally think just cause for pre emptive strikes should be severely restricted.

I appreciate the discussion.




Stew, you write: "I appreciate the discussion"


I appreciate your appreciation.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2009 09:16 pm
@odenskrigare,
odenskrigare;99376 wrote:
I don't think the Nazi party had real racial ideals
Some of them did. Rosenberg, Heydrich, and Himmler absolutely had racial ideals. Goehring just wanted to steal money from Jews to pay for food and booze. Goebbels was a Machiavellian who hated Jews but used them to consolidate power. And Hitler was all of the above superimposed on a Napoleon complex.

odenskrigare;99376 wrote:
hence the alliance with Japan
They didn't entirely trust Japan because of the racial issues, though. It was a horribly dysfunctional alliance and they never saw eye-to-eye. Germany wanted Japan to attack the USSR and not the USA. Japan wanted Germany to concentrate on Britain so that they could take British colonies in the Pacific and SE Asia.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 01:11 am
@RDanneskjld,
I know of several military veterans, who were wounded in battle, and who now believe that war is so stupid: it's just sheer madness. [In fact there is an outfit named "Veterans Against War."] Some of them have "hero" status. All those I've heard from had won Purple Heart medals. One highly-medalled hero, who I kow personally here, fought in The Battle of the Bulge. He came to that realization right on the battlefield, after much killing he had engaged in, when he looked into the eyes of a quite young German recruit he just confronted who looked so dazed, as if to say "What am I doing here???!?". They both put their guns down and stayed in their respective foxholes instead of killing each other. They both seemed to feel the same way. He confided in me 62 years later. He realized then that war is not merely non-rational: it is irrational, it's the very opposite of rationality.

Philosophers ought to care about rationality.

It seems to me that up to now we have had first to make a mistake - like going to war - and then learn from it. Wouldn't it be neat to 'know better' before we suffer?

What if there was a body of cumulative-knowledge with the name "Ethics" that would do for conduct what Musicology does for music appreciation?

What the music notation system does for musical composition this Ethics discipline would do for breaking bad habits and for forming ethical conduct.

Maybe then people would avoid war altogether?
 
stew phil
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 03:16 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;102889 wrote:


With an excuse such as the one you give: "a measure taken to deter future aggression" we could be in a perrenial state of warfare. That is not the quality of life I want to live, but maybe some here would settle for that.


If you notice, I defined deterring future as a conditional just cause for war. That is, it is not a justifiable goal, by itself, to constitute a just cause for war, like self defense against unjustified aggression would be. Once a war is determined a necessary last resort, conditional just causes like deterring future aggression can factor into the relevant benefits of war, but certainly do not justify going to war, by itself.

in very certain circumstances, examples like removing the immediate military means for committing future crimes against humanity e.g. genocide can be a relevant aim of war.


Of course one must always reason between the benefits of achieveing such a goal, balanced by the potential harms and practical considerations of engaging in such destructive conduct. No one would be justified in pursuing a perpetual war for any cause, given the harms of war.

Point is, fighting solely to deter future aggression, in a perpetual manner, would not be justified either under the conditions of Just War Theory. So I see no force to your objection, at all.


deepthot;102889 wrote:

Myself, I would prefer to build schools - at no cost to them - among those who need re-education for adaptation to 21st century values and culture. I would even offer them for free textbooks we have written - to go with the schoolhouse.


Sure great benefits, but can they physically stop a genocide, that is currently being acted out?

deepthot;102889 wrote:


Are you sure those Kurds were so "innocent"? History says they were in a state of insurrection against the government. Would we behave any differently here than Hussein did against any local "bombers and terrorists" who were in a state of uprising against the government of the USA?


And what is so immoral about a secessionist movement, if its in fact a justified collective will of the people? If you do some research, you will notice that Kurdistan was granted official recognition as an international autonomous federal entity by Iraq, in 1992. Would you consider the American Secession against British rule to be an inherently immoral action?

If we assume that a group had a valid claim to secession, no the United States government would not have a right to fire biochemical weapons at them. Such an act would be crazy. Would you condone such behavior by your government?

Further, what are you trying to say? That Hussein naturally acted in a way that any government body would? How does that in itself justify such a repugnant behavior? I must say that is a pretty weak way of justifying the use of biochemical weapons, and even worse, justification for aiming them at innocent non combatants.

deepthot;102889 wrote:

I don't believe we would. ---not that two wrongs make a right...


Ok, so Hussein didn't act naturally like we would to? What exactly is the point of your objection then?

deepthot;102889 wrote:

As far as disarming him of "mass-destructive weapons": that turned out to be a big farce. UN inspectors on the ground looked thoroughly and still could not find any. Yes, chemical weapons can be flushed away, but at great risk to the surrounding populations.


You are making factual errors. I am referring to the Kuwait intervention in August, 1990.

You are mistaking it as the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Invasion of Kuwait - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


deepthot;102889 wrote:

Is it possible some of us here fell for the usual war-inciting propaganda?


Or perhaps someone has no clue about the actual cases being cited?



deepthot;102889 wrote:

Again, thank you. We agree. Everyone needs to do such research.


Yeah, sounds like it.

deepthot;102889 wrote:

It will be an eye-opener. On the first day, when our troops go in and destroy a library, and/or facilitate a museum later being looted, it is already unjustifiable to any scholar, or lover of the humanities, or conservator of culture.



I do not recall me saying these kinds of actions were right at all. Couldnt't a just war theorist morally condemn these actions as harms too?

deepthot;102889 wrote:

"Aggression" is a vague and undefined term here in this thread. Does it never occur to readers that when we behave violently, i.e., use armed "force", that to a martian, WE may be perceived, correctly, as "the aggressor."?
When we occupy a place, by use of violent force, we perhaps WE are "the terrorists", the invaders, the bad guys. It all depends who you are asking.



Yes it is in the general sense, and even in a traditional legal sense a very vague, poorly defined and out dated term. Doesn't mean that there hasn;t been any contemporary debate about how the term should be defined. Jeff McMahon has written an excellent article on justified and un justified aggression. An entire thread alone could be devoted alone to it.

deepthot;102889 wrote:

Yes, I want to stop the perpetrators !!

If I do it by using armed drones, or bomber-aircraft, as we are wont to do in recent times, rather than engage in hand-to-hand karate, judo, aikido, etc. do not we become "aggressors" and "terrorists"? Yes, let's shoot elephant-tranquilizer darts at the genocidal soldiers, then ship them to retraining camps for intensive rehab; but if we copy their conduct, how are we any better than they????


Yeah, many contemporary methods of a-symmetric war fare are just that, the devastation is a-symmetric. But who says that a-symmetric warfare is necessary? I sure as heck do not.
 
stew phil
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 07:24 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;105308 wrote:
I know of several military veterans, who were wounded in battle, and who now believe that war is so stupid: it's just sheer madness. [In fact there is an outfit named "Veterans Against War."] Some of them have "hero" status. All those I've heard from had won Purple Heart medals. One highly-medalled hero, who I kow personally here, fought in The Battle of the Bulge. He came to that realization right on the battlefield, after much killing he had engaged in, when he looked into the eyes of a quite young German recruit he just confronted who looked so dazed, as if to say "What am I doing here???!?". They both put their guns down and stayed in their respective foxholes instead of killing each other. They both seemed to feel the same way. He confided in me 62 years later. He realized then that war is not merely non-rational: it is irrational, it's the very opposite of rationality.



Fallacy of appeal to emotion
. Fallacy of hasty generalization.

I can provide anecdotal evidence as well that affirms just the opposite, but I do not state such as sufficient justification. At best, anecdotal evidence provides intuitional evidence, and in your case, war is brutal.

But saying it is irrational is a loaded description. Irrational in what sense? And does that sense then make the idea of a just war irrational?

If you define the point better then maybe I can respond.


deepthot;105308 wrote:

It seems to me that up to now we have had first to make a mistake - like going to war - and then learn from it. Wouldn't it be neat to 'know better' before we suffer?


If only the world was perfectly moral, but people will act out of self interest. People kill at the domestic level. People kill at the international stage. Sometimes it amounts to things like genocide. Doesn't mean that war in response to stop such crime against humanity is unjustified.

deepthot;105308 wrote:

What if there was a body of cumulative-knowledge with the name "Ethics" that would do for conduct what Musicology does for music appreciation?

What the music notation system does for musical composition this Ethics discipline would do for breaking bad habits and for forming ethical conduct.

Maybe then people would avoid war altogether?


I have no idea what analogy here you are attempting to draw between war and the study of music. I would appreciate an explanation of what similarities between the two you are trying to draw here.
 
Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 08:35 pm
@kennethamy,
I think that morality can only be applied on a personal level, human being to human being.
When considering culture vs. culture confrontations, morality really has no place in the discussion. Therefore, I'll say that all war is justified, but not all individual actions.


WARNING: I ended up writing A LOT more than I intended to, posted below, not all of it being directly related to answering your question. Just skip my post if you're not willing to read my thought stream entirely.
If you are, I think I have some very interesting ideas, and that you'll enjoy them.


Living organisms on a cellular level are very selfish - they take what they need to continue living as they are and they have no consideration for the needs of their counterparts. This is not war, because it is thoughtless.

Larger organisms like reptiles, mammals, fish, birds, etc...develop a sense of society. They are, for the most part, social creatures who will sacrifice some of what they need to flourish so that another member of their family or pack may flourish alongside them. They have no consideration, however, for organisms outside their family. It is important to note that these animal families may include delicate ecosystems comprised of a variety of species - for example, meerkats and birds signal each other when dangerous enemies are nearby and mutually flourish. This is similar to war except that it is devoid of choice, as the animals are operating off of basic instincts for survival.

Organisms with higher consciousness, like ourselves, are capable of abstaining entirely from what they need to flourish, demonstrating self-sacrificial behavior, in order for another person to flourish. They are capable of making this choice, but only do so if they value that other person's life with higher esteem than they value their own. They are also capable of taking what they need to survive and killing any opposition to their control of resources.

In making this choice, to either accept one's own death or accept the death of another, based on relative values, I believe we see the first trace of morality.
War is the outcome we see when both persons are more willing to accept the death of their enemy than the death of themselves, demonstrating their opinion that their life is more valuable than the other person's life.

If our minds were without ego, than both parties would be able to sit down, have a discussion of the situation, weigh each other's value to human culture and agree which would live and which would die, or make a compromise.
The only reason we continually end up fighting wars is that we are unable to think without our egos, which is intensified through patriotism, nationalism, racism (any ISM you can think of really, minus pacifism lol) and are therefore unable to reach understanding and compassion for eachother's respective cultures, inevitably leading to war. Again, and again, and again.

I don't think that war is morally wrong because as a collective of consciousnesses, our society has no choice but to view itself egotistically, as do all societies. War is simply the result of too many people who all need the same thing and all think of themselves as more important than everyone else.
This is why war never ends and why mankind can not truly be held accountable for it, except when considering smaller, individual acts of violence. War though, as a concept, can not be blamed on mankind.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 08:42 pm
@Mentally Ill,
Mentally Ill;105516 wrote:
War though, as a concept, can not be blamed on mankind.

What can it be blamed on then?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 12:15 am
@Mentally Ill,
Mentally Ill;105516 wrote:
War though, as a concept, can not be blamed on mankind.


I blame elephants, hippopotamuses, and the platypus. Without these creatures of evolution, mankind would have no reason to go to war because there would be no such thing as war.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 12:19 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;105538 wrote:
I blame elephants, hippopotamuses, and the platypus. Without these creatures of evolution, mankind would have no reason to go to war because there would not be the concept.



The concept of war is no more needed for there to be war, than the concept of germs is needed for there to be germs, or the concept of stars is needed for there to be stars. There were stars way before there was the concept of stars. And there were germs way before there was the concept of germs.
 
IntoTheLight
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 12:26 am
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;96940 wrote:

  • Is there such a thing as a just war, both in theory and in actuality?



The concept of "just" in an absolute sense is highly questionable. However, in terms of relativism, it is certainly possible to enage in a "just" war from a particular ethnocentric viewpoint.

Quote:
What conditions would be sufficient to make war morally justified?


If the 'enemy' was engaging in a practice that he attacking nation deemed morally reprehensible.

Quote:
Is absolute pacifism a logically coherent notion?


Sure. Why would it not be?

-ITL-
 
stew phil
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 03:18 am
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;96940 wrote:

  • Is absolute pacifism a logically coherent notion?



Absolute pacifism holds that killing is never justified, under any circumstances. But surely we can think of many situations where killing someone would be justifiable. Further, it's difficult to believe that anything but war, and the killing that followed, could have put an end to WWII.

Quote:

But I am unsure whether I would want to adopt a consequentialist or non-conquestialist approach.
Consequentialism not only permits too much in war, it lacks a substantive way of identifying relevant benefits and harms in war. From a personal point of view, detonology appeals to me in the moral analysis of war.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 07:54 am
@stew phil,
stew;105557 wrote:
Absolute pacifism holds that killing is never justified, under any circumstances. But surely we can think of many situations where killing someone would be justifiable.



But if there is justifiable killing, that doesn't make pacifism incohernt. It makes it false. Anyway, in simply saying there is justifiable killing, you are just denying that pacifism is true. And I suppose the pacifist will deny those cases are justiable killing. So you an the pacifist will be at impasse. You will not have shown he was wrong unless you can show that your cases of killing are justifiable.
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:00 am
@RDanneskjld,
I do believe that going to war can be morally justified, and I wouldn't want to go to war unless we were morally justified in doing so; however, if we go to war (and if we are morally justified in doing so), then I would care less (but still care--to a degree) about how we conduct ourselves during wartime. For example, I am generally against using force unless necessary, but if we must use force, then because it's war, I may be in favor of excessive force even if excessive force is morally unjustified.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:13 am
@fast,
fast;105608 wrote:
I do believe that going to war can be morally justified, and I wouldn't want to go to war unless we were morally justified in doing so; however, if we go to war (and if we are morally justified in doing so), then I would care less (but still care--to a degree) about how we conduct ourselves during wartime. For example, I am generally against using force unless necessary, but if we must use force, then because it's war, I may be in favor of excessive force even if excessive force is morally unjustified.


Why would you use excessive force, since isn't that force that is more than is needed to accomplish an objective?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:23 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105610 wrote:
Why would you use excessive force, since isn't that force that is more than is needed to accomplish an objective?


Sometimes people use excessive force to teach lessons.

For instance, if a thief attempts to steal my wife's purse, I may be able to get it back without doing much harm to the thief. But, I may choose to, instead of just grabbing the purse back from the assailant, break his arm, or trip him with a very hollywood-esque karate move. The thief may think twice about trying to grab my wife's purse again, eh, don't you think?

In the case of war, perhaps fast meant that sometimes applying excessive force ensures that the leader/country "gets the message", and this can sometimes be good!

kennethamy wrote:

The concept of war is no more needed for there to be war, than the concept of germs is needed for there to be germs, or the concept of stars is needed for there to be stars. There were stars way before there was the concept of stars. And there were germs way before there was the concept of germs.


Stars and germs are physical entities which are not dependent on our decisions, prescriptions, or analyses. Yes, they do exist, without our conceptions. I don't think war is necessarily like this; I don't think the physical manifestation of what we call war, is all that war is, like in the case of "germ" or "star". War isn't just a name of a thing, it is an understanding amongst participants, much like peace and friendship are. I think that a concept of war is needed for one to engage in, what we call, war. Isn't our judgment of the situation that which makes something a war?

Do you think peace is simply a word for the physical manifestation of two people being friendly? I don't. Do you not think the concept of friendship must exist for a friendship to exist? For what would a friendship be without the understanding shared by both parties?
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:43 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;105612 wrote:
But, war is not a physical entity, is it? It is a concept.
War is not a physical entity, but it's not a concept either. There is a difference between a war and a war concept. A war concept (or concept of war) is a mental entity, but war is neither physical nor mental.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:47 am
@fast,
fast;105614 wrote:
War is not a physical entity, but it's not a concept either. There is a difference between a war and a war concept. A war concept (or concept of war) is a mental entity, but war is neither physical nor mental.


I actually deleted that from my intitial posting before you responded. I apologize. What I meant was that war is not merely a physical entity, or rather, it does not merely refer to its physical manifestation.

But, just to probe here, why do you not think war is a concept? War seems to me to be a concept, as far as I know the word "concept". There can also be a physical manifestation of what we call war.

Why do you think there is not, on both accounts?
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 10:49 am
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;105610]Why would you use excessive force, since isn't that force that is more than is needed to accomplish an objective?[/QUOTE]Emotions, specifically anger. Generally speaking, I would want to do what's right, but if pushed to the brink of war, what is moral may take a back seat to how I would feel.

---------- Post added 11-24-2009 at 12:01 PM ----------

[QUOTE=Zetherin;105615]I actually deleted that from my intitial posting before you responded. I apologize. What I meant was that war is not merely a physical entity, or rather, it does not merely refer to its physical manifestation.[/quote]
Zetherin;105615 wrote:


But, just to probe here, why do you not think war is a concept? War seems to me to be a concept, as far as I know the word "concept". There can also be a physical manifestation of what we call war.

Why do you think there is not, on both accounts?


We have to distinguish between our concepts and what our concepts are concepts of. For example, there is a difference between a cat and a cat concept. One is physical, and one is mental. Let's get more specific. Consider my cat, "Crooked Tail Kitty." I have a mental concept of my cat, and if my cat were to die, although I would no longer have my cat, I would still have my concept of my cat, and what my concept is a concept of is my cat, Crooked Tail Kitty.

There is of course a difference between a cat and a war, where one is physical and one is not, and just as there is a difference between a cat and a war, so too is there a difference between Crooked Tail Kitty and the Iraq War. Just because the war is neither physical nor mental, that doesn't mean there's still not a difference between a concept and what a concept is a concept of.

---------- Post added 11-24-2009 at 12:07 PM ----------

Earlier, I said war is not physical. What I should have said is that war is not a physical entity.
 
 

 
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