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After the Terror

Ted Honderich

Hardback
£80.00

'To be on an airliner and look around and see the people and be able to stick to the plan of flying it into a skyscraper is to be hideous, and to persist if they come to know the plan is to be monstrous.'

'For the 3,000 deaths there are lines of responsibility into the past, as real as chains of command, containing earlier and later perpetrators. We in our democracies are in them, and in particular those of us who have got themselves into our governments.'

After The Terror

This philosophical and moral reflection describes two worlds - ours of good lives and another of bad lives - and questions our complicity in allowing the bad lives to happen. With what morality are we to think of this? And of September 11th, and about our counter-attack, and what to do now?

After the Terror is not moral philosophy detached from reality. It enquires into the 'natural fact' of morality and the worked-out moralities of philosophers. It reaches to the moral core of our lives. Ted Honderich asks why the events of September 11th were wrong and what terrorism tells us about ourselves and our obligations. He does not respect the moral confidence of our leaders and others. He defends a morality of humanity that requires us to think about our lives, and to act up against our democratic governments.

Key Features

  • A serious work of philosophy that looks at the moral issues in the aftermath of September 11th
  • Written by a famous philosopher who is widely published
  • A courageous, sceptical book that asks tough questions and makes us think about our values
  • Written with passion, conviction and honesty

Contents

CHAPTER ONE: GOOD LIVES, BAD LIVES
Living Longer
Other Great Goods
Half-Lives and Under-Fives
Necessary Inquiry
Less than Half-Lives, and a Reason
Reassuring Ourselves
Quarter-Lives
Larger Numbers
Great Goods Again?
More Reassurance?
Not an Omission
CHAPTER TWO: NATURAL AND OTHER MORALITY
Natural Morality
More to Natural Morality, and Its Inescapability
Worked-Out Moralities
Libertarianism
Liberalism
The Principle of Humanity
CHAPTER THREE: DID WE WRONG THEM? DO WE WRONG THEM?
Political Realism
A Morality of Relationship
A General Distinction, and a Mystery
Libertarianism, Liberalism, Humanity Again
Acts and Omissions
Causes and Conditions
Good Intentions
Another Hope, and a Conclusion or Two
CHAPTER FOUR: THE TWIN TOWERS, AND DEMOCRACY
Oneness in Extremity
Definitions of Violence
Terrorism Defined
Why Some Say It Was Wrong
Democracy
Hierarchic Democracy
Why September 11 Was Wrong
CHAPTER FIVE: OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND WHAT TO DO
Moral Confidence
Our Share in September 11
Capitalism
Our Counter-Attack
What Is To Be Done.

About the Author

Ted Honderich is Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London and Visiting Professor at the University of Bath.

Reviews

The whole book is a marvellous example of what good philosophy can do to puncture the complacency of received moral and political ideas.
- Professor Richard Norman, University of Kent
Everyone who was appalled by the events of September llth 2001 must read this book. You are addressed personally, in urgent, passionate talk. Not everyone will like his conclusions, yet even those who are prepared to take no responsibility for the Terror are bound to reflect on the historical causes of these and other attacks. The book contains, as well as some brisk moral and original philosophy, some important insights into the centrality of the Israel/Palestine conflict to any future freedom from terrorism.
- Baroness Warnock
Honderich's brilliant After the Terror attempts to provide the conceptual and moral tools for self-perception and resolution to change, to make moral contemplation a matter of the living present and the future.
In the flood of literature on terrorism, this essay stands out as unusual, and unusually enlightening and provocative. It guides the reader, lucidly and forcefully, from basic ideas about a good and decent life to contemplation of concrete and immediate issues that are or should be at the center of attention. It is a compelling and impressive contribution to thinking about problems that are complex, painful, and urgent.
- Noam Chomsky
In these bad times, when many intellectuals have become the spear-carriers of the new order, reading the words of Ted Honderich is a rare delight. This uncompromising and courageous philosopher continues the dissenting tradition of Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, more needed now than ever before.
- Tariq Ali