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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2001

Social and Political Philosophy

Robert L. Holmes
Pages 193-205

A Western Perspective on the Problem of Violence

The following sketches a constellation of views constituting the implicit philosophy of violence that one finds in much of the Western world. While I believe that much of this philosophy is deeply flawed, I shall, in a sense, be setting forth the case for violence because any hope of a nonviolent and peaceful world order must begin with a deeper understanding of violence and its attractiveness. After exploring various arguments for violence, I conclude that once we probe beneath the surface, it is clear that most of those who deplore violence do not oppose all violence, only that of which they disapprove, and that social manipulation backed by violence in the end seems to most people to be justified.

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