Machiavelli’s 24 Dirty Hands | Intro to Political Theory Blog
Hatfield, Joseph M. 2017. “An Ethical Defense of Treason by Means of Espionage.” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 195-207. This essay argues that treason by means of espionage is ethically justified when six factors are present, two of which are: that the political community being betrayed fails to secure for its citizens basic human rights and other means of peaceful or otherwise lawful protest are unavailable. The paper begins by analyzing the application of several theories of ethics to treason, including: consequentialism, deontology, the Just War tradition, and Michael Walzer’s influential concept of ‘dirty hands.’ It then criticizes these points of view and offers an account of jus ad proditione per intelligentia (just treason by means of espionage) based upon Aristotelian thinking about ethics and politics.
Dirty Hands and the Atom Bomb | Intro to Political Theory Blog
Beginningwith an illustrative passage from a renowned 19th centuryEnglish novel, the essay traces the dirty hands tradition back toMachiavelli, though its present vogue is owed mostly to the writingsof the distinguished American political theorist, Michael Walzer.
Political theorist Michael Walzer elaborates on this Machiavellian concept in The Problem of Dirty Hands. Walzer explains, “sometimes the precepts and principles of an ordinary man, the products of his moral education, come into conflict with injunctions developed at a higher level of moral discourse” (Walzer, 160).