Free Will, Understanding, and Justification: Terrorism, Israel, and the Palestinians

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this piece, I wish to do two things: first, briefly explore the history of the interaction between the Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the last three generations, focusing on the question of why there is no Palestinian state, with a special emphasis on the role of terrorism. Second, combine this with some reflection on our attitudes regarding the free will problem and the role free will plays in understanding and in justification. This might at first be thought to be an odd choice. One reason why I wish to do this is that both Ted Honderich and myself have specialized in the free will problem, while also writing on terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian context. A second, more important reason is that work on the free will problem has focused on the issue of punishment (another topic on which both of us have worked) but hardly at all on broad historical-political issues, so I think that we might gain from this new focus. I aim to explore the question as to why there is no Palestinian state (and the relevance of terrorism to this question), taking off from some comments by Ted Honderich; and, in the process, see what we can learn from this about the free will problem. At the same time, I shall explore what reflection on agency, choice, and responsibility can add to our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTed Honderich on Consciousness, Determinism, and Humanity
EditorsGregg D. Caruso
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-66754-6
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2018


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