Casting the first stone: did Cohen have standing to condemn Israel’s condemnation of terrorism?

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One of the first philosophers to discuss the topic of standing to blame was Jerry Cohen in his oft-cited paper ‘Casting the First Stone: Who Can and Who Can’t Condemn the Terrorists?’. Cohen takes as his point of departure the condemnation made by Israel against Palestinian terror during the Intifada. In Cohen’s view, this condemnation was out of place. Thus, his paper not only offers a philosophical analysis of the right to condemn, but is itself an exercise in condemnation. My paper tries to show that this condemnation on Cohen’s part was ungrounded and motivated by anger, hence (a) he had no standing to voice it and (b) its condemnees were justified in disregarding it. I base this conclusion on an explanation I offer to show why, when condemning somebody for phi-ing is not motivated by a genuine commitment to the values that underlie the opposition to phi-ing, the blaming is standingless and the blamees have good reasons to ignore it.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Jerry Cohen
  • Standing to blame
  • doctrine of double effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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