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Is an unflinching commitment to always be a pacifist morally desirable?

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Is an unflinching commitment to always be a pacifist morally desirable?

Is an unflinching commitment to always be anything morally desirable? This suggests that nothing at all could move one to take a different view, and that sort of absolutism might well be felt undesirable. We normally think that it is preferable to take each situation as it comes and then assess how one ought to act. If someone were to say that there were absolutely no circumstances in which violence would be acceptable, it would be difficult to know how to talk to him or her, since there are circumstances in which violence just does seem appropriate.

Would it ever be possible to achieve world peace? The only way that seems

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Would it ever be possible to achieve world peace? The only way that seems possible is to get everyone to believe the same thing. The only way that seems possible is if there were divine interference. Since this is highly unlikely how could there ever be world peace? ~Jordan~

I suppose another way you could try to get everyone to believe the same thing is coercion, terror, and force, either outright or threatened. Doesn't sound appealing.

So maybe we should rethink what's needed for world peace. Instead of thinking that it requires universal agreement, perhaps we should explore the possibility that it requires only respect for reasonable differences of opinion; instead of everyone's having the same beliefs, we need to work out a way in which sharp differences needn't lead to conflict. (You might reflect on our own society, in the U.S., which is domestically at peace and yet whose citizens have sharply conflicting beliefs about matters of great importance to them.) In this connection, you might be interested in reading Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace (1795) or John Rawls' The Law of Peoples (1999).

How can we rationalise societal condoned killing like war and execution. Is our

How can we rationalise societal condoned killing like war and execution. Is our collective conscience so bereft of compassion that killing others in the cold light of day is ok, especially if our peers say it is?

I'm not sure those who hold that is is just to kill or execute people under certain circumstances believe this simply because "our peers say it is". That might explain why some people have formed this judgment, but it doesn't tell us why we ought to form the judgment, that is, tell us what's to be said in the judgment's defense. (See Question 367 for more on why this would be a problematic argument.) If you think it's wrong, it's worth trying to say why it's wrong. To begin with, you might try to get a sense of the contours of your moral judgments? For instance, do you think we're also "bereft of compassion" to deprive individuals of their freedom? For the remainder of their lives? For five years? Perhaps you'd be interested in Debating the Death Penalty, a collection of essays arguing both sides of the case.

Is it better overall to have a country in which most people are firmly convinced

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Is it better overall to have a country in which most people are firmly convinced that engaging in warfare is never morally permissible, or to have a country in which people believe that engaging in warfare can sometimes be moral? The second alternative has considerable initial plausibility to my mind and certainly seems to be the more popular one by a wide margin, but I've found that the people whom I otherwise respect most for their intellectual abilities tend to believe the former. So I wonder.

There surely are intelligent and morally thoughtful individuals who are pacifists and believe that going to war is always morally unjustified, However, I think that this view is ultimately morally unacceptable. I believe that there can be circumstances where going to war would be morally justified, for example, cases of collective self-defense. If one political community is unjustly attacked by another, people can be morally justified in defending themselves against attack by going to war against their attacker. This needn't mean that going to war whenever one is attacked would be morally justified. There may be cases where the moral costs of self-defense are too high and, thus, would not be justified. But this doesn't count against there being at least some cases of going to war in self-defense being morally justified.

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