Is Violence Necessarily in Bad Faith?; Liberatory Violence, Bad Faith, and Moral Justification: A Reply

in Sartre Studies International
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  • 1 University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2 Denison University
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Can violence ever be justified or is violence necessarily oppressive? Is self-defensive counter-violence or “revolutionary violence” aimed at human liberation, which Sartre defended, necessarily in bad faith? These questions form the crux of the debate between Matt Eshleman and Ronald Santoni. Is violence by nature Manichean, making the Other into an “object” and evil antagonist, and thus dehumanizing and oppressing the Other? Or can violence be liberatory when it is directed at oppressors? Both authors—but especially Eshleman, and Santoni reluctantly—agree that some forms of violence (such as self-defense) do not involve bad faith, but disagree about whether or when revolutionary violence can be justified.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture