Philosophy Talk asks: What can non-violence really achieve?

Apr 10, 2015

We all hope for peace. Yet in the face of violence, it often seems the only recourse is more violence. Advocates of non-violence claim it’s not necessary to respond to war in kind, and that responding violently, even in self-defense, just perpetuates the cycle of violence. So how can we practice non-violence under the direct threat of violence? Can non-violent acts be spread to stop aggression and war? And are there times when violence is, in fact, necessary?

Under CC license from Flickr user dakini

Many air strikes were launched by Israel in Gaza City over the past few weeks in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Since that moment, the violence in the region has subsided after a cease-fire. The Palestinians made a successful bid to upgrade their UN status, and Israel announced it would build 3,000 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. So the situation remains as tense and volatile as ever.