Tuesday, December 3, 2013

van der Vossen on Chatterjee's Ethics of Preemptive War

Here is Bas van der Vossen's NDPR review of Deen Chatterjee's collection on The Ethics of Preventive War.
The review has some important stuff to say about the distinction that the book fails to capture between preemptive and preventive war. The review also praises a few of the chapters that undoubtedly merit such praise. For the most part, the authors he discusses defend the views you'd expect them to defend (though McMahan is still rewarding and sometimes surprising to read).

Importantly, I think, something the reviewer said was long overdue to be mentioned in a respectable book review. He points out that
Distaste for the Bush administration is palpable throughout the volume (for example in the chapters by Brown and C. A. J. Coady). This reader would have preferred the editor to have weeded some of this out, as it is frequently accompanied by claims or assertions that receive no support or reference.
The reviewer goes on. I agree. Way too much really bad "philosophy" makes it into edited collections merely because it is of the "correct" ideological bent. Editors (and in this case Cambridge U Press) should not be in the business of publishing screeds. 

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