Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Assessing the Existence and Equality of Innocents: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

Prof. Bryan Brophy-Baermann.

Over the past sixty years, modern war, terrorism and the spread of democracy have invited innumerable empirical analyses in the social sciences. However, underlying these empirical analyses are a set of assumptions about: the legitimate use of force in politics, an unexpressed sense of the legitimate targets of political violence, and an often expressed belief that political power in a democracy rests with the people. In short, these assumptions can be summarized as: nation-states, with the consent of the governed, may use force in politics, and nation-states are the arbiters of the appropriate targets. These assumptions ignore the fact that there have been dramatic changes in how states wage war, the widespread proliferation of weapons of all sorts, and the growth of representative democracies around the world. These dramatic changes have fundamentally altered the usefulness of philosophically driven ideas about “just war” and legally driven ideas about “legal wars” and “legal, violent tactics.” The codes and laws put into place to protect the innocent are simply no longer applicable. This paper will assess how far we must progress to re-establish a sense of proportion, a sense of who is innocent, in short, a twenty-first century model of “just” violence. By comparing modern tactics with ancient values and mores, and modern practices with modern words, the need for updating will be self evident. Put another way, the need to re-inject the world of the humanities into the world of behavioral political analysis is more pressing than ever.


Prof. Bryan Brophy-Baermann  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science Faculty of the College of Letters and Science
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

  • Innocents
  • Terrorism
  • Modern War
  • Economic Sanctions
  • Just War

(Virtual Presentation, English)