A. J. Coates
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On defining terrorism
in The ethics of war
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Most ethical studies of terrorism centre on the ius in bello issue of noncombatant immunity. David Rodin favours a rule-based approach in which the moral meaning or identity of terrorism is determined through the application of the rule that upholds noncombatant immunity. His definition of terrorism centres on that rule and is the main reason why he applies the definition to states as well as non-states since 'universality is the basic principle of the interpretation of moral rules'. The moral casuistry favoured by traditional just war thought seems better placed to achieve a specific moral understanding of terrorism than more abstract methods. Moral casuistry stems from an appreciation of the complexity of moral conduct, a complexity which rules out any straightforward application of moral principles.

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The ethics of war

Second edition


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