Washington University Review of Philosophy

Volume 2, 2022

The Philosophy of War and Violence

Vittorio Bufacchi
Pages 209-218

Three Questions about Violence

This article explores three philosophical issues regarding the concept of violence. First, violence is not just an act, it is also an experience. The study of violence should not focus exclusively on understanding actions that cause harm. Instead, a more phenomenological approach is required, one that prioritizes the experience of violence, especially those of victims and survivors of violence. Second, it is necessary to distinguish between “unwanted” and “unconsented” violence. Third, the definition of violence as violation of integrity or wholeness will come into scrutiny. In particular, to what extent does integrity as intactness apply to human beings, and if violence is defined in terms of breaking something intact, can violence be done to something that is already broken?