Sunday, September 14, 2014

Philological footnote to the President's address to the nation concerning ISIL

[We examined the speech in extenso here.   And now, an afterthought.]

The proposition that no true religion advocates the killing of innocents, is open to two logico-linguistic escape-hatches.

(1)  The classic “No True Scotsman” maneuvre.  (Thus, any religion that does advocate this, is no true religion.  -- The chief mufti of KSA has taken the same tack as Obama on this.)
(2)  One must pose the ever-relevant Clintonian Question:  in this case, “It depends upon what the meaning of 'innocent' is."   If the label is refused to those who profess a doctrine other than the received one (as has happened throughout history), the proposition becomes vacuous.
And though the fires of Lichfield have died down for a time, the matter is of more than archival interest:
And with slightly different emphases:

[Update] For a thoughtful essay along these lines, try this:

Additionally, a nuancing update to this essay:

A very perceptive article in today’s Neue  Zürcher Zeitung, pointing out some overlooked similarities between goose and gander:

Allzu oft wird weggehört, denn gross ist das Bedürfnis, im Kampf gegen Putins rabiates Expansionsbedürfnis nur noch Gut und Böse gelten zu lassen. Kriege vernichten intellektuelle Grauzonen. Das ist ein fataler Fehler. Nicht alles, was auf ukrainischer Seite kämpft, ist gesättigt mit europäischen Werten und demokratisch. Sogar in der Selbsteinschätzung Odnoroschenkos ist das Asowsche Bataillon eine «rechtsextreme, nationalistische» Organisation. Dies zu bemänteln, ist schädlich, denn es diskreditiert die solide, westliche Argumentation gegen Putin.


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