Skip to main content
Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Terrorism research resources: Philosophy & Ethics

Philosophy

Allen, D. (Ed.). (2006). Comparative philosophy and religion in times of terror. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Stacks - HV 6431 C652 2006
This collection of essays sets out to examine the complex relationship between religion, philosophy, and violence. Individual chapters explore how a religion or philosophy (Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy, Buddhism, Zen, and Confucianism are among those discussed) can deepen our understanding of contemporary terrorism.

Borradori, G. (Ed). (2003). Philosophy in a time of terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Stacks - HV6432.7 .H32 2003

Shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the author conducted separate interviews with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, two influential thinkers representing the opposing ends of contemporary philosophy. The book includes both conversations as well as Borradori’s own essay in which she summarizes and elaborates on the two philosophers’ ideas about the causes and consequences of 9/11.

Corlett, J.A. (2003). Terrorism: A philosophical analysis. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Stacks - HV 6431 H417 2008
The author seeks to define terrorism by contrasting it with other forms of political violence, secession in particular. As he explores terrorism’s ethical aspects, he identifies punishment, retribution, and vengeance as the motives that underlie terrorist acts. Under specific criteria, he argues terrorism may be morally justifiable.

Ethics

Bellamy, A. J. (2008). Fighting terror: Ethical dilemmas. London, UK: Zed Books.

E-book
The book focuses on the ethical dilemmas raised by terrorist acts and counterterrorism efforts. The author shows that a moral framework is necessary to guide politicians’ and lawmakers’ decisions about fighting the war on terror. Building on the just war theory and contemporary international law, the author argues that terrorism must be countered in ethically responsible ways.

Held, V. (2008). How terrorism is wrong: Morality and political violence. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Stacks - HV 6431 H417 2008
This collection of thematic essays, some previously published, examines the morality of political violence, with the focus on terrorism. Showing that war and other kinds of violence are often believed to be justifiable whereas terrorist acts are always seen as morally condemnable, the collection complicates the moral assessment of terrorism  as well as other forms of politically motivated violence.