Waging Peace: A Defense of Interpersonal Pacifism
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I argue for a universal, absolutist form of pacifism. In chapter 1, I note the various ways people have used and abused the terms “pacifism” and “violence,” and I argue that while “violence” should not be construed as broadly as many philosophers would like, “pacifism” (and therefore typologies of pacifism) ought to be construed broadly enough to allow for strictly interpersonal forms of pacifism—that is, moral opposition to violence at the personal but not necessarily the political level. In chapter 2, I argue against unitary conceptions of moral judgment; there are at least three distinct conceptions of how moral value applies to objects under evaluation (deontological, hypological, and evaluative). I introduce the term “moral health” as a placeholder for any normative ethical theory the evaluative judgments of which function analogously to biological health in important ways. In chapter 3, based on the moral health model, I posit and defend four evaluative moral judgments which jointly constitute a universal, absolutist form of pacifism which I call “moral health pacifism”—namely that violence is bad for everyone, there are alternatives to violence even in situations that appear to call for violence, becoming a person who can perform those alternatives well is very morally demanding, and there ought to be persons who can perform those alternatives. In chapter 4, I present seven common objections to pacifism and argue that each fails to refute moral health pacifism (as well as other forms of pacifism).
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