State Violence and Moral Horror

By Jeremy Arnold

Subjects: Political Philosophy, Political Theory, Violence, Moral Psychology
Paperback : 9781438466767, 214 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438466750, 214 pages, November 2017

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Table of contents

Introduction: Legitimacy and Violence in Contemporary Life and Political Thought

1. The Strengths and Limits of Philosophical Anarchism

2. The Strengths and Limits of the Paradox of Politics

3. The “Concept” of Singularity

4. Singularity and the Impossibility of Justifying State Violence

5. Moral Horror



Explores the concept of "moral horror" as the experience of living amidst unjustifiable state violence.


Can state violence ever be morally justified? In State Violence and Moral Horror, Jeremy Arnold critically engages a wide variety of arguments, both canonical and contemporary, arguing that there can be no justification. Drawing on the concept of singularity found in the work of French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, Arnold demonstrates that any attempt to justify state violence will itself be violent and, therefore, must fail as a justification. On the basis of this argument, the book explores the concept of "moral horror" as the experience of living amidst and acquiescing to unjustifiable state violence. The careful explanation of arguments from across the spectrum of political theory and exceptionally clear prose will enable both advanced undergraduates and more general readers interested in political thought to understand and engage the central argument. State Violence and Moral Horror is a unique contribution to the growing literature on violence and will be of interest to political theorists and philosophers in both the analytic and continental traditions, philosophers of law, international relations theorists, law and society scholars, and social scientists interested in normative aspects of state violence.

Jeremy Arnold is Senior Lecturer in the University Scholars Program, National University of Singapore.