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The Evolutionary Logic of Terrorism: understanding why terrorism is an inevitable human strategy in conflict

O'Gorman, Rick (2010) 'The Evolutionary Logic of Terrorism: understanding why terrorism is an inevitable human strategy in conflict.' In: Silke, Andrew, (ed.) The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism. Political Violence . Routledge, 62 - 75. ISBN 9780415558396

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Abstract

When I was growing up, one of the strangest concepts I encountered was the notion of ‘rules of war’. Here is an arena of human endeavour in which people, usually men, attempt to kill each other, yet apparently it has rules. Eventually, I realised that such rules had a history to their existence and a broader setting beyond the conflict. Countries, nations, even empires, had (and of course have) rules that relate to concepts such as honour and chivalry that structure how they approach conflict. Terrorists seem to not embrace such notions. They violate our understanding of rules of conflict, and by doing so violate our greater sense of morality. And no form of terrorist activity seems more indifferent to life and all we hold dear than suicide attacks. As such, we equate terrorists with other individuals who eschew moral rules, such as those who commit incest or cannibalism.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2011 09:36
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2021 12:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1632

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