“Terrorism” Revisited

My friend Vicente Medina (Philosophy, Seton Hall University) has a short piece out on the semantics of “terrorism” in Government Europa Quarterly, an online journal.  We had a few discussions of Medina’s views on terrorism here at PoT in advance of the symposium on his book, Terrorism Unjustified, that took place at Felician about a year and a half ago (see here and here). A published version of the Felician symposium is about to come out soon at Reason Papers, consisting of three critical responses (by Graham Parsons, Theresa Fanelli, and myself), and a response by Medina. Continue reading

Felician Events: Policing, Deportation, and Immigrant Rights

Three event announcements for people in the New York/New Jersey metro area (this announcement amends and supersedes an earlier one I put up):

Policing from a Cop’s Point of View
Thursday, November 8, 2018, 1-2:15 pm
“Ray’s Place,” Main Auditorium, Education Commons Building
Felician University’s Rutherford campus
227 Montross Ave.
Rutherford, New Jersey 07070

We live in a climate of opinion that is highly critical of the police: charges of racism, brutality, procedural irregularity and the like abound. But what is the experience of working police officers? How do they experience what they deal with on the job, and what do they think about the criticisms commonly made of them?

We’ll hear answers to these and other questions from four local police officers: Louis Mignone, a former detective for the West Orange Police Department (now an adjunct in Felician’s Department of Criminal Justice); Julie Ann Zeigler, a sergeant for the Rutherford Police Department; John Russo, Chief of Police for the Rutherford Police Department; and John Link, former Chief of Police of the Clifton Police Department (and an adjunct in Felician’s Department of Criminal Justice). The event is free and open to the public.

Continue reading

Terrorism Justified: A Response to Vicente Medina

[This is a draft of the paper I’ll be presenting this Saturday at the Author Meets Critics session I’m organizing on Vicente Medina’s Terrorism Unjustified: The Use and Misuse of Political Violence, featuring presentations by Theresa Fanelli (Felician), Graham Parsons (West Point), and myself, with a response by Vicente Medina (Seton Hall). Comments welcome. For a link to an earlier discussion of Medina’s book at PoT, go here.]

Terrorism Justified: Comment on Vicente Medina’s Terrorism Unjustified
Author Meets Critics Session
Felician University, Rutherford, New Jersey
April 21, 2018
Irfan Khawaja
Felician University

  1. Introduction

Vicente Medina’s Terrorism Unjustified offers a comprehensive, clear, and thorough critique of terrorism. There’s a sense in which I agree with and greatly admire Medina’s argument, and a sense in which I fundamentally disagree with and reject it. In this paper, I’ll focus on the disagreement, in the hopes that in doing so, the implicit agreement will come out as well.

I begin in Section 2 by making some critical observations on Medina’s definition of “terrorism.” The definition, I suggest, pushes the reader in two different directions—a categorical rejection of terrorism, and a subtly conditional one. On the latter interpretation, terrorism can be justified, but only in situations that Medina regards as extremely implausible and unlikely. In Section 3, I offer an extended thought-experiment, verging on a fable, intended to give plausibility one such situation. In other words, the case I describe is one in which it seems (to me) justifiable to target people that Medina would regard as “innocent noncombatants,” or else to inflict foreseeable harm on them without having to meet a “reasonable doubt” criterion as to their moral status. In Sections 4 and 5, I make explicit what the fable leaves implicit. Continue reading

Author-Meets-Critics Session: Vicente Medina’s “Terrorism Unjustified”

The Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs will be holding an Author-Meets-Critics session on Vicente Medina’s Terrorism Unjustified: The Use and Misuse of Political Violence (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). The event takes place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, 1-4:30 pm, in the Main Auditorium (“Ray’s Place”) of the Education Commons Building on Felician University’s Rutherford campus (231 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey 07070). Light refreshments will be served.

Presenters include Theresa Fanelli (Criminal Justice, Felician; previously, FBI Counterterrorism Division), Graham Parsons (Philosophy, West Point), and Irfan Khawaja (Philosophy, Felician), with a response by Vicente Medina (Philosophy, Seton Hall University).

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available onsite, and the Rutherford campus is easily accessible by mass transit from New York City (New Jersey Transit Bus #190 from Port Authority, at 42nd St). Continue reading

CFP: 11th Annual Felician Ethics Conference (last call, note revised due date)

The Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs invites papers for its Eleventh Annual Conference, to be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Felician University’s Rutherford campus, 227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey 07070.

Submissions can be on any topic in moral or political philosophy broadly construed, not exceeding 25 minutes’ reading time (approximately 3000 words). Please send submissions in format suitable for blind review to <felicianethicsconference at gmail dot com> by August 25  September 1. Acceptances will be announced by September 11.

The plenary speaker will be Michele Moody-Adams, Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University: Continue reading

2nd CFP: Felician Institute Spring Conference

Here’s the second CFP for the 11th Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs. Conference to take place Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Felician University’s Rutherford campus (227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey 07070). Papers due February 1, 2017. Plenary speaker is Michele Moody-Adams, of Columbia University, speaking on hate speech: “Taking Expression Seriously: Liberty, Equality, and Expressive Harm.” Continue reading

CFP: Eleventh Annual Conference, Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs

Speaking of events I’m organizing, here’s one worth keeping in mind: the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, taking place on Saturday (9 am – 6 pm), April 22 on the Rutherford campus of Felician University (227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey, 07070). Here’s the official CFP itself:

The Institute invites submissions on any topic in moral or political philosophy, broadly construed, not exceeding 25 minutes’ presentation time (approximately 3000 words). Please send submissions in format suitable for blind review to felicianethicsconference at gmail dot com by February 1, 2017. Acceptances will be announced by March 1, 2017.

Here’s last year’s program. Here’s 2015. You can look at the rest, going back to 2007, by going to the Institute’s web page, clicking the “Spring Conference” tab, and scrolling down a bit.  Continue reading

Tenth Annual Felician Institute Conference: Tentative Program

Just a quick note to say that I’ve worked up a tentative version of the program for the Tenth Annual Felician Institute Conference. As usual, we got more papers than we had spots to fill, so we couldn’t include all of them. But the ones on the program are really good, and I’d like to think that the sessions might well end up being more than the sum of their parts.  There’s a nice blend of meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, and political philosophy this time (though not very much in the way of history). I was particularly gratified to get two hard-hitting pieces for our dedicated session on the ethics, politics, and economics of adjuncting–one by Michelle Ciurria (Washington University at St. Louis), and one by Derek Bowman (Providence College).

Continue reading

Revised CFP: Tenth Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs

I’ve revised the CFP for the Felician ethics conference to reflect the title of J.L.A. Garcia’s plenary talk, “Grounding the Metatheory of Morals.” So is this going to be an excursion into Aristotle, Aquinas via Maritain, Kant, all three, or something else? I have no idea, so save the date (April 23), show up in delightful Rutherford, New Jersey, and you can hear the answer for yourself.

Better yet, submit a paper–but hurry up, because there’s only five weeks before the deadline. (That means you, Gordon, Carrie-Ann, and Michael.)

Please circulate the CFP to interested parties in your networks, and especially to adjuncts with opinions on the controversy over adjunct employment conditions, since there’s a dedicated session on that topic.

2nd Call: CFP, Tenth Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Tenth Annual Conference of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs will be held in the Educations Commons Building of Felician University’s Rutherford campus, 227 Montross Ave., Rutherford, NJ 07070, on Saturday, April 23, 2016, from 9 am – 6 pm.

Plenary Speaker:
J.L.A. Garcia (Boston College)
“Grounding the Metatheory of Morals”

Submissions on any topic in moral or political philosophy (broadly construed) are welcome, not exceeding 25 minutes’ presentation time (approximately 3,000 words). Please send submissions via email in format suitable for blind review by March 1, 2016 to felicianethicsconference@gmail.com.

Completed papers are preferred to abstracts, but abstracts will be considered. Authors should ensure that they are available to appear at the conference on the conference date before submitting.

Presentations are invited for a special panel discussion on the ethics, politics, and economics of adjuncting. The invitation is open to all, adjuncts and non-adjuncts alike, from within philosophy and outside of the field.

Please direct questions to Irfan Khawaja at felicianethicsconference@gmail.com.