Last updated: 17 Jun 2010
Installed: 17 Jun 2010
(Originally posted to a Philosophy mailing list on 14th June 2010)
Last updated: 17 Jun 2010 A message was posted to the philos-l mailing list with subject referring to a recently published book about Gaza. This initiated some comments about rights and wrongs of Israel's actions and one of the contributors wrote
...whenever Israel comes up on Philos-L (as it tends to every few years), there's *never* any philosophy involved.I submitted the following comment in response. I may later revise this in the light of further comments I have received as a result.
I should point out that this is not my main line of research[*] and I do not claim to have expert knowledge: I am merely asking a question -- though well aware that it is a question some people will not like, for different reasons.
Subject: Re: THE PUNISHMENT OF GAZA - GIDEON LEVY -- A philosophical question? Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 23:42:54 +0100 Well here's a question I have been thinking about which seems to include at least some philosophy. A bit of background first: Although I believe I had relatives who suffered under the Nazi regime, I was, even as a child aged 11, concerned that starting up yet another state would cause yet more wars, much to the annoyance of my parents and relatives who were celebrating the creation of Israel in 1948. My concern then was just based on the general (childish?) observation that the more nations there are the more wars there will be. My information about the horrors of war were mostly based on film newsreels during world war II and also war movies around that time. As we lived in what was then Southern Rhodesia we were not directly affected. I now have a different concern. There seems to be evidence that children who have been abused in childhood tend to be abusers when they grow up. Could there be similar mechanisms in the behaviour of nations? Something different from simple revenge taking? If so, could that account for some of the behaviour of Israel over the years? (Of course, accounting for behaviour is not the same as justifying or excusing the behaviour. I am aware of the claimed justifications on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli tragedy.) If there is such an effect, is there anything analogous to therapy that can be applied to nations? Would similar questions arise for the behaviour of Palestinians? Obviously the question goes far beyond the behaviour of Israel: I use it as an example only because it has come up in recent postings. Perhaps this topic comes under 'practical philosophy' ? Aaron http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs [*]The sorts of things I normally work on can be found here http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/ http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/talks/ http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/poplog/packages/simagent.html http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/my-doings.html
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