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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2010). Justifying Terrorism. Public Affairs Quarterly 24(3): 189-195.

Author(s) from Durham


Virginia Held's recent How Terrorism Is Wrong offers us any number of important contributions to how we think about terrorist violence. My discussion will focus on only one of these contributions, namely, how terrorism may be justified. This justification rests upon a group being denied a voice. Thus, terrorism may become justified where this demand to be heard is denied, coupled with the corollary that all nonviolent options have been exhausted. I will argue that we should require a more narrow justification of terrorism. This is because I believe Held's understanding may be open to abuses that we should close off. I will begin by looking at how she defines terrorism. I will next turn to how terrorism may be justified on her account before arguing that a more narrow justification is required and what this might look like.