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« A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton | Main | Dan Sperber on the Enigma of Reason »

September 11, 2011

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David Jarvis

Have you considered Principled Non Violence as discussed by Michael Nagler of Berkeley University. His example discussed in the opening lecture of the series "Non Violence: from Gandhi to Martin Luther Kind" available on Academic Earth website presents a real life example similar to the axeman at the door scenario. A mob is hunting muslims in a joint hindu/muslim community, the mob are knocking on doors and seeking the muslims. A home owner answers the door. "We think you're hiding a muslim in there" the mob asks, the home owner answers "First kill me, then you may enter and kill the muslim." The moment where non violence meets violence and wakes up the mob to their error. This happened hundreds of times and hundreds of lives were saved. This reveals a possible greater consequent of holding to the truth with Kants axeman, in that creating a moment of non violence may sway the axeman from his violence, whereas lying to him is communicatively violent and may further inflame his violence, either immediately or at a later date. The story begins about 11.15 min of the first lecture Overview: Strategic and Principled Nonviolence I.

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