IPSA RC 31 - Political Philosophy

To content | To menu | To search

2007 Programme, Annual Conference- London

ANNUAL CONFERENCE: PROGRAMME & ABSTRACTS International Political Science Association (IPSA) Political Philosophy Research Committee (RC31) 28-30 June 2007 University College (Public Policy Unit), London University


              IPSA RC31, over the past three years, have had conferences on various aspects of democracy in its global aspects (in Fukuoka, Atlanta and Moscow). What we now attend to is the way in which democracy may be impacted by terror, whether as genuine threat, or as a pretext for aborting civil liberty. Terrorism is widely characterized as the ‘weapon of the weak’. Yet it has now achieved global reach. We witness an expanding technological capacity, of individuals and social movements, for enormous destructive impact. How should we theorize Terrorism? Is there something peculiar to modernity that occasions or enables it? Is it in any way morally justifiable? Is one person’s ‘terrorist’ just another’s ‘freedom fighter’? What are appropriate technical, prudential and moral responses to Terrorism? What are the moral limits to the ways in which it may be resisted? Is it ‘war on terror’ that needs to be bridled, or ‘discursive’ democracy itself? How should we conceive of democracy in an era where terror goes global? Some of the more obvious figures with whom the discussion needs to interact are Schmitt, Habermas, Arendt and Rawls. IPSA RC31 expects that a useful volume may arise from this conference.

Friday Keynote Speaker: Professor Conor Gearty (LSE) Saturday Keynote Speaker: John Keane (Center for the Study of Democracy) Speakers and Chairs include Professor Sir Bernard Crick, Prof. John Medearis (Univ. of California), Professor Alexander Sungurov (St Petersburg & Moscow), & Professor (Lord) Bhikhu Parekh.

Friday 29 June 2007

SESSION I 9-10:30 a.m. (a) Dr Rory J. CONCES: “Taking Realism & The War on Terrorism Seriously” (b) Mr Ioannis TELLIDIS: “Theorizing Terrorism: The Basque Case” (c) Dr Gabriella SLOMP: ‘Terrorism, Anti-terrorism & Just war: A Schmittean Perspective’ Chair: Dr Andrea BAUMEISTER

SESSION II 10:45- 12:15 (a) Dr H H HAIDAR: “The Immorality of Terrorism According to the Qur’an” (b) Prof. Alexander SUNGUROV: “Terrorism: Human Rights and War in Chechnya” Chair: Dr Olga MALINOVA.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS 1:15- 2:15pm Keynote Speaker: Professor Conor GEARTY “RECONCILING THE LAWS AND PRACTICE OF COUNTER-TERRORISM WITH HUMAN RIGHTS” <C.A.Gearty@lse.ac.uk> London School of Economics

SESSION III 2:30-4:00pm (a) Dr Olga MALINOVA: “Terrorizing the State: Radical 19th C. Russian Thought” (b) Prof. John MEDEARIS: “Three Approaches to Democracy & War on Terror” (c) Mr. Seth LAZAR: “Nationalism, Emergency & Terrorism” Chair: Prof. Alexander SUNGUROV

Saturday 30 June 2007

SESSION IV 9-10:30 a.m. (a) Prof. M. ILYIN: “Classifying States: Between the Ideal of Law & the Nideal of Terror” (b) Prof. Diane LAMOUREUX: “War on Terror: A Posthumous Triumph for Scmitt?” (c) Dr. Willem SCHINKEL: “On the Concept of terrorism” Chair: Prof. John MEDEARIS.

SESSION V 10:45- 12:15 (a) Dr. Ruth KINNA: “Terrorism and the Uses to which States Put It.” (b) Prof. P. KING: “Equality or Terrorism?” Chair: Prof M. ILYIN.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS 1:15- 2:15pm Keynote Speaker: Professor John KEANE <jk@johnkeane.net>

                           Center for the Study of Democracy, 32/38 Wells St, London W1T 3UW

SESSION VI 2:30-4:00pm Prof (Sir) Bernard CRICK: “Justifications of Violence and Terrorism” Dr. Jon PIKE: “Terrorism & Moral Theory: A Critique of Honderich” Chair: Prof. (Lord) Bhikhu PAREKH <profparekh@profparekh..karoo.co.uk>

ABSTRACTS OF CONFERENCE PAPERS RC31: IPSA: 28-30 June 07: PAPERS 01-17 in Alphabetical Order

01. Rory J CONCES (Dept of Philosophy & Religion), University of Nebraska at Omaha. E-mail: <rconces@mail.unomaha.edu>


Abstract Although philosophers are not in a privileged position when it comes to addressing political and social problems, they can contribute in ways that promote clarity of thought. One way this can done is in terms of the different ways in which the philosopher can reconceptualize the moralization of political realism within the context of terrorism and the war on terrorism as it arises in the Balkans. This essay develops such a reconceptualization by distinguishing thinly moralized political realism from its thickly moralized variant. First, it presents reasonable definitions of terrorism and the war on terrorism. Second, it offers a reading of thinly moralized political realism such that a country like Bosnia is justified to enter the war on terrorism as well as to engage in a wide range of actions in support of it. Finally, it shows that the situation becomes blurred when the ally is a country like Bosnia that has recently suffered from years of moral horror like genocide and ethnic cleansing, in which case the justification for certain actions in support of the war on terrorism may be overridden within a framework of a thickly moralized realism..

02. Professor (Sir) Bernard CRICK. E-mail: <Bernard.Crick@ed.ac.uk>


Abstract We liberals in times of relative peace and prosperity often cannot face up to the reality of violence, both our own legitimate use of force and the complex motivations of those driven to use it against us. B. Constant argued that the aim of the ancients was to share social power among citizens of the same fatherland and called this liberty, while moderns call liberty the enjoyment of private pleasures and the institutional guarantee of these pleasures. A citizen culture is one in which a people actively defend (a) the state against public enemies, but also (b) their liberties against the state – even acting (in extreme cases) to overthrow it (as in the English Civil War and the American and French revolutions). Losing the sense of how to glorify active citizenship, we risk losing our grip on the motives provoking political violence (as with terror) together with our capacity to discriminate between justifiable and unjustifiable violence.

03. Professor Conor GEARTY: Friday Keynote Speaker (LSE). E-mail: C.A.Gearty@lse.ac.uk Title: “RECONCILING THE LAWS AND PRACTICE OF COUNTER-TERRORISM WITH HUMAN RIGHTS”

Abstract The very concept of 'terrorism' has the potential to damage the democratic process and to subvert national and international commitments to human rights. Under cover of this term, invariably far more broadly defined than even an informed general public imagines, political freedom is constrained and attacks on the dignity of the person multiplied. Since the attacks on 11 September 2001, a school of human rights specialists has even emerged which argues for departure from human rights norms as a necessary evil in the face of the terrorism threat. Where liberal democratic states lead the way, despotic leaders happily follow, camouflaging their usual authoritarianism in the benign dress of counter-terrorism. But there is a proper human rights response to the challenge of terrorism, one which recognises the seriousness of this kind of violence while asserting the primacy of human rights laws and the values that truly underpin them. The signs are that this human rights revival is underway, in both the United States and under the new Brown administration in Britain. But is it too late?

Bio Conor Gearty is Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at The London School of Economics. He is also a Barrister, and a founder member of Matrix Chambers. His books include Terror (1991) and The Future of Terrorism (1997) as well as Principles of Human Rights Adjudication (2004), Can Human Rights Survive? (2006) and (forthcoming this August) Civil Liberties. He has been an adviser to the Labour Party on terrorism and has given evidence on the subject to the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs for which he has also acted as a special adviser. 04. Dr. H. H. HAIDAR. Dr Hamid Hadji Haidar, BA and MA (Qum), BA (Tehran), MA (Royal Holloway, London), PhD (Essex), is author of two books, was lecturer in London, where now Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, School of Public Policy, University College. Postal Address: 140 Maida Vale, London W9 1QB. Tel: +44(0)20 7604 5501 Fax: +44(0)20 7604 4898 Mobile: +44(0)79 32 76 80 33 Email: h.haidar@ucl.ac.uk Title: “THE IMMORALITY OF TERRORISM ACCORDING TO THE QUR’AN” Abstract Terrorism, on Islamic principles, cannot be justified. (My argument leans heavily on Tabatabai, the greatest interpreter of the Qur'an in contemporary Shia Islam.) The Qur'an promotes peace as an overriding social value. Peace and justice, taken together, occupy the pinnacle of social values in Islam. War, being restricted to self-defence, is the exception. Peace, following Qur'anic teachings, is not the mere absence of war. It is a condition in which individuals live securely. Justice restrains human conduct and regulates other moral principles. While self-defence is just, justice excludes targeting non-combatants. The principle of justice, while it allows defensive war, at the same time forbids terrorist practices in war. Terrorism, because marked by sustained insecurity for noncombatants, is absolutely illegitimate. The principles of peace and justice equally exclude pre-emptive or retaliatory operations against terrorists in so far as these violate the peace and security of non-terrorists. 05. Professor/Dr M. ILYIN, Dept of Political Science, Moscow State University, Editor: Polis. E-mail: <Ilyin@politstudies.ru> Title: CLASSIFYING STATES: Between the Ideal of Law and the Nideal of Terror Abstract:

This paper (following Robert Dahl) seeks to supply a "shadow theory" of modern statehood and world politics. From Hobbes via Weber to the present day, all major attempts to conceptualize the state have implied a concept... of the anti-state. This paper posits a positive concept (Begriff) of sovereign territorial rule of law, and a negative concept (Gegenbegriff) of non-sovereign, non-territorial, anti-state terror. All actual states lie somewhere between these two theoretical extremes. Specific location can be empirically determined by reference to such criteria as capacity to exercise state prerogatives, command a monopoly of violence, and resist attack. Actual polities tend to be too loosely identified – e.g. as 'liberating', 'incomplete', 'vague', 'failed', 'rogue' , and even as 'quasi' states. (Only the last is quasi-adequately conceptualized by R.Jackson and his school.) These classifications need to be re-tooled, thought out more clearly, and handled with greater theoretical rigour - such that political philosophy captures not only the two polar extremes, but also the world of everyday experience in between.

06. Professor John KEANE, Saturday Keynote Speaker (Center for the Study of Democracy, 32/38 Wells St., London W1T 3UW). E-mail: jk@johnkeane.net

07. Dr Ruth KINNA <r.e.kinna@lboro.ac.uk> Title: "TERRORISM AND THE USES TO WHICH STATES PUT IT". Abstract "Terror may be used against the state. It may also, less obviously, be used by the state. The immediate question arising is how far a state (or some party or element within it) may deliberately attempt to heighten public fears about the threat of terrorist attack in order to secure political advantage. Where a state exaggerates in this way, its responses to terrorism are typically illiberal (Hobbesian solutions to non-Hobbesian> problems). These responses may well also threaten democracy by undermining open (non-secretive) deliberation and thus the capacity for informed self-government. My argument however is that the state, where terror is used against it (not where it deploys terror itself), is not best thought of as engaged in a Machiavellian response to a headline attack, leading to the erosion of democracy, but as caught up in a broad process of ideological struggle, in which lying assumes a prominent role, eventually springing a trap for government, which is encouraged to adopt a Hobbesian response to violence, as an act of self-deception, to appease deceived electorates. To make this point I draw upon Hannah Arendt’s notion of lying and self-deception, using the historical parallel of the anarchist violence of the 1890s which has become a model for a series of analyses of 9/11 and the war on terror. " 08. Professor Preston KING pking@morehouse.edu Title: ‘EQUALITY OR TERRORISM?’ Abstract Terrorism is any extreme act of violence, intended to shore up or up-turn systems of governance, whatever the ideological motive. Terrorism is deployed by agents private and public, in systems democratic and despotic. The death penalty is a small shock of terror. Lynch law produces far larger ripples of fear. Set against the absolute ideal of peace, no violence is justifiable. Seen as ‘fighting fire with fire’, perhaps so. Where terrorism (‘shock & awe’) is deployed by powerful states, it is ‘normal’. Where resorted to by the weak, it is ‘extreme’. If the great power is the more rational actor, then its key moral challenge is to exclude casual violence against weaker collectives, while promoting greater fairness towards them. Discursive reconciliation – rationality – is likelier among agents who view themselves as more nearly equal. The pathology of terrorism (from below) may point to the need for more energetic defence of equality.

09. Dr Diane LAMOUREUX, Professor, Political Science Dept, Laval University (Qubec, Canada). Has recently written on Corps politique in the Dictionnaire du corps (Paris, PUF, 2007). Email Address: <Diane.Lamoureux@pol.ulaval.ca> Title: ‘WAR ON TERROR: A POSTHUMOUS TRIUMPH FOR SCHMITT?’ Abstract Since September 11, 2001, many Western States have joined in what the US President has labelled "the war on terror". If this "war" has had little success in eradicating terrorism, it has profoundly transformed liberal democracies. It has tightened policies on immigration; expanded security procedures (airports, public spaces); restricted habeas corpus; introduced secret jails, arbitrary detention, and racial profiling. In sum, it has suspended significant aspects of rule of law. At the beginning of the 1920s, astride the troubled Weimar Republic, Schmitt developped a theory of dictatorship. This was a state of exception consistent with severe restriction of individual and public liberties. In Politische Theologie (Political Theology), Schmitt links Ausnahmezustand to the ultimate and discretionary power of decision that he sees as the main aspect of sovereignty. Against Hans Kelsen, champion of liberal constitutionalism, Schmitt insists on the incapacity of liberal institutions to produce clear-cut decisions. Schmitts solution is to suppress rule of law and public debate in favor of Entscheidung. I seek to explore the constitutional consequences for todays western democracies of adopting Schmittian positions in prosecuting "the war on terror". 10. Seth LAZAR, Dphil (research student), St Peter’s College, Oxford. <sethlazar@yahoo.co.uk> Title: “Nationalism, Terrorism & Supreme Emergency”

Abstract If public policy reflects popular morality, our maintenance of a nuclear arsenal suggests that, confronted with impending catastrophe, states fighting just wars may cease discriminating between combatants and non-combatants. The best defence of this 'supreme emergency doctrine' argues that special duties to protect our compatriots may, in extremis, override general duties to enemy non-combatants. However, this might also justify terrorism by stateless nationalists, when their co-nationals are threatened with catastrophe. This paper examines whether co-nationals have duties to one another that justify some nationalist acts of terror. Special duties can only be justified if they do not infringe the autonomy of the bearer and are not unfair to third parties. The paper is skeptical whether co-nationality depends on the duty to protect our co-nationals, and whether it is adequately valuable.

11. Professor/ Dr. Olga MALINOVA, Institute of Social Science Research, Russian Academy of Sciences. Centralnyj prospect, 439-12, Moscow, Zelenograd, Russia, 124498. Tel. 8-916-608-66-98. E-mail: omalinova@mail.ru Title: 'TERRORIZING THE STATE: RADICAL 19th CENTURY RUSSIAN THOUGHT'

Abstract Terrorism, as the illegitimate use of violence to achieve political ends, has distinctive and recurrent ideological characteristics. Though ideologies motivating terrorism greatly differ by era and country, it remains that most, arguably, have common features. This paper analyzes concepts of state/society relations mirrored in radical Russian political thought and attends both to the origins of Russian terrorism in the nineteenth century and to the reasons for the sympathetic attitude towards it among the greater part of educated society. Though these ideas are rooted in a culturally specific context, they may be seen nonetheless to share certain typical and recurrent features. 12. Prof John MEDEARIS, Associate Professor, Dept of Political Science, University of California, Riverside. Tel: (951) 827 4345. Email: <medearis@ucr.edu>


Abstract There are different ways of conceptualizing democracy and these conceptualizations affect how we understand the relationship between democracy and “war on terror.” The simplest and most prevalent response to the question how such war relates to democracy is: it does not. Implicitly, the idea that “war on terror” is a question for democracies, but not a question of democracy, rests on an elite conception, according to which democracy is simply an institutional arrangement in which parties compete for popular support in reasonably free elections. Such a flat denial sets the stage for a second, more adequate conception. This insists on a reciprocal relation between individual rights and majority rule, and it suggests there is a democratic problem when state action to counter terrorism violates crucial principles of justice in the name of security. Behind the misdeeds of particular governments – specific acts of surveillance and detention – lies a warfare state whose capacities for antidemocratic action, and whose resistance to democratic control, is on the rise. A third approach to democracy (adopted here) problematizes the institutional developments behind war on terror, on one hand, and emphasizes the perennial, oppositional character of democracy and democratic action, on the other.

13. Dr Jon PIKE, Sr Lecturer, Philosophy, The Open University, Milton Keynes. Telephone 01342 327821. Email: <j.e.pike@open.ac.uk>


Abstract Ted Honderich has advanced one of the most widely publicised philosophical responses to terrorism. First, however, his overall moral theory fails in its intention to generate a justification of a ‘right to terrorism’, due to dual confusion over (a) what that right might consist in and (b) conflicts of rights, plus (c) the incapacity of a ‘flat’ consequentialist theory to deliver such a right. Second, general considerations about agent causation and specific consideration of Strawsonian “reactive attitudes” (a) provide the basis for a critique of Honderich’s claim about who the ‘friends of terror’ are and (b) show up ways in which Honderich’s account relies for its purchase on Orientalist stereotyping. Honderich is inadequate as (a) a free standing piece of philosophical analysis, (b) an empirically rooted account and justification of particular acts, and (c) a form of philosophically inspired political engagement, and thus ought not to inform moral or leftist thinking about terrorism, which need to be worked out differently.

14. Dr Willem SCHINKEL. Erasmus University, Rotterdam. E-mail: Schinkel@fsw.eur.nl Title: “The Concept of Terrorism”

Abstract Many contemporary conceptualizations of terrorism inadvertently reify political conceptions of terrorism. Mainly because they in the end rely on the intentions of terrorists in defining ‘terrorism’, the process of terrorism, which involves an unfolding dialectic of actions and reactions, is omitted from researchers’ focus. Thus, terrorism becomes simplified to intentional actions by terrorists, and this short-cutting of the causal chain of the process of terrorism facilitates both a political ‘negation of history’ and a ‘rhetoric of response’. In this article, I put forward a conceptualization of terrorism that transcends existing definitions and conceptualizations by first of all discerning between ‘terrorism’ and ‘terror’, and by subsequently conceptualizing terrorism as a paradox: what terrorism is, is inextricably bound to the reaction to terrorism. It is in fact the reaction of some state to terrorism that, in a sense ex post facto, constitutes an act as ‘terrorism’ by ‘refolding’ actions that unfolded subsequent to an event into that event as the root cause of the entire chain of events.

15. Dr Gabriella SLOMP, University of St. Andrews. <gs21@st-andrews.ac.uk> Title: ‘Terrorism, Anti-terrorism & Just war: A Schmittean Perspective’

Abstract I review some of Schmitt's views on (i) just war, (ii) terrorism & (iii) liberal democracy. The aim is to argue that terrorism and anti-terrorism - nationally and internationally- constitute (for Schmitt) examples of just war and expose its most distinctive aspect. This is that the end (elimination of evil) justifies use of all available means (abandonment of rule of law) by the noble warrior. Schmitt’s aim is to demonstrate that liberalism, as a belief-system, is no less exclusionary than Leninism. He views liberal cosmopolitanism (a supposed struggle for the rights of all human beings) as but a flight of rhetoric masking particular and non-inclusive interests. Schmitt accuses liberalism, in domestic politics, of hiding the political, forcing it underground. Schmitt accuses liberalism, in the international arena, of demonising anyone who does not endorse its dogmas.

16. Prof. Alexander SUNGUROV, President, St. Petersburg Center of Humanities and Political Science, Izmailovski pr., 14, Apt. 424, Strategy Center St. Petersburg, RUSSIA. E-mail: <asungurov@mail.ru>


Abstract The emerging threat of global terrorism involves a shift in public values generally, such that human rights issues tend to become subordinated to demands for security. We must however note the difference between (a) countries that have stable democracies and are marked by a long history of respect for human rights by contrast with (b) post-communist systems that are bereft of these features. In the latter case, continued respect for human rights as the conceptual and ethical basis of the legislative system is at serious risk. The alarm felt within society at large (in response to terrorist threats) tends to be taken up by politicians, parties, and government itself. The leaders are disposed to address security problems just as they think fit, without constraint of law, justifying this cavalier approach in the court of public opinion. This results, simultaneously, in (a) more extensive state control of the lives of ordinary people, and (b) higher levels of violence against those suspected of terrorist activity. This paper analyzes the post-Soviet situation as it bears upon the interplay between promoting human rights and making war on terror. It focuses in particular upon the Chechen conflict including the views of the key players involved, viz. the state, the NGOs, human rights activists, and the international community at large.

17. Ioannis TELLIDIS, Dept of Pol Sc, St. Andrews e-mail: <it6@st-andrews.ac.uk> Title: ‘THEORIZING TERRORISM: THE BASQUE CASE’

Abstract The academic study of terrorism, by not focussing on what is basic, risks becoming what Brannan, Esler and Strindberg have called “an intellectual counter-terrorist vanguard”. Though I do not reject any of the 109 definitions identified by Schmidt, I conclude that terrorism is best seen as a method that serves the interests of some higher political cause – such as the defence of the nation, the state, a religion, animal rights, etc. This highly political dimension is what separates terror from common criminality. To show this, I attend particularly to the Basque conflict. This case demonstrates how improbable terror would be, separated from its ideological underpinnings – here nationalist, suffused in the symbolism of freedom-fighters and heroes. States that oppose terror in the name of democracy are often themselves, of course, undemocratic. By recognizing the kaleidoscopic ideological allure of terrorism, we may position ourselves to defend more effectively against it.

Published on Monday, May 10 2010 by Thomas Hayes