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The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism$
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Timothy Shanahan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635290

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635290.001.0001

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‘Pointless Heartbreak Unrepaid’: Consequentialism and the IRA's Armed Struggle

‘Pointless Heartbreak Unrepaid’: Consequentialism and the IRA's Armed Struggle

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter 5 ‘Pointless Heartbreak Unrepaid’: Consequentialism and the IRA's Armed Struggle
Source:
The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism
Author(s):

Timothy Shanahan

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635290.003.0005

Attempts to morally justify the IRA's armed struggle in terms of Just War Theory encounter a number of serious problems. However, it might be morally justified according to the standards of other moral theories. Some scholars have concluded that if terrorist campaigns such as the IRA's can be morally justified at all, it will be in terms of their overall beneficial consequences. It is therefore worthwhile to examine the morality of terrorism in general and of the IRA's armed struggle in particular, in relation to consequentialist moral considerations. This chapter aims to understand how consequentialist considerations could be used to morally justify at least some terrorist acts, and then to determine whether any of the IRA's acts of terrorism should be judged as among those so justified. The prospects for such a defence, it argues, are slim.

Keywords:   Just War Theory, terrorist campaigns, moral theory, consequentialism, IRA's terrorism, moral justification

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