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This volume on “War” brings together otherwise disparate essays. Two consider the relations of Islam and the West, the one taking western intellectual and political institutions as paradigmatic for peaceful relations between the two, the other seeing the dominant account of Western philosophy as a polemical misinterpretation and deep misrepresentation of Islamic thought. Two pieces on literary subjects consider the effects of war on the citizens, but as far removed as Greece from Prince Edward Island, and as remote as the Peloponnesian War from the Great War of 1914-18. A fifth essay considers the morality of the use of torture by the state.
WAYNE HANKEY in “9/11 and the History of Philosophy”, calls for a reinterpretation of the history of philosophy especially in view of the contemporary voices proclaiming the irreconcilability of Islam and western values. He notes that Islamic philosophy has been excluded by neglect and ignorance from prevalent constructions of the histories of philosophy in the West, thereby condemning Islam as irrational, and argues that contemporary works on Arabic and Islamic philosophy require a reshaping of that history.
FLOY DOULL shows in “Islam and the Principle of Freedom” that both the modern science of nature and democratic institutions find their origin in doctrines of the Christian religion, but that both have achieved an emancipation from that origin. But a call to embrace democratic institutions and the principle of freedom is in many respects antithetical to the heart of Islam.
PAUL EPSTEIN writes “Aristophanes on War: Acharnians”, a philosophical account of Aristophanes’ earliest extant comedy. In that play, as in all Aristophanic comedy, the interaction of the hero and the institutions of family and state, together with the gods who support those institutions, forms the structure of the drama. Every element in the comedy finds its place in Epstein’s analysis.
HOLLY PIKE, in “A Woman’s War”, examines the sources of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s war novel, Rilla of Ingleside, especially in two war memoirs of Frances Huard and Mildred Aldrich, and in a war movie, “Hearts of the World”. Montgomery’s journals frame the analysis of the novel.
RICHARD MATTHEWS: argues in “Dirty Hands, Cosmopolitan Value and State Evil: Reflections on Torture” that the precondition for the use of state torture has consequences which make manifest that torture must be absolutely prohibited. This is as true for virtue ethicists as for utilitarian or deontologist arguments. The tragic choice or “dirty hands” dilemma must in this case be restricted by cosmopolitan or absolute principles.