Orienting Questions on Glossop


Glossop, Ch 1 "The Nature of the War Problem"

1. Glossop's spaceship analogy suggests that during a crisis efforts to enhance survival should take precedence over efforts to resolve religious and political differences. What is your assessment of Glossop's ordering of values? How relevant is this analogy for threats facing humanity?

2. In his discussion of four aspects of the war problem Glossop suggests that humanity needs to address each of them. In light of the present global situation in the post-Cold War World, which of these aspects do you feel has the greatest urgency and why? Do you see any of the four aspects as more manageable and less urgent? What strategy would you suggest in linking aspects that should receive immediate attention?

Glossop, Ch 2 "The Conceptual Framework"

1. In defining war, Glossop uses principles of inclusion and exclusion. Why does he include civil conflict along with international conflict and exclude feuds and riots? Why does he stress large-scale violence? Why does he connect war with maintaining or establishing government?

2. Glossop distinguishes negative and positive peace and relates discussion of each to issues of justice. What critique can you give of these two definitions of peace? How does the concern for justice go beyond a mere discussion of the principles of just war?

3. Glossop relates the concepts of peace and justice to the prospects for and problems with world government. Can world government achieve peace and, if so, what kind of peace? Can world government avoid injustice and, if not, can its injustice be kept beneath current levels of injustice?

Glossop Chapter 3 "The Historical Framework"
1.  Briefly summarize the major trends in warfare over the past five centuries. What role have powerful countries (Great Powers) played in the waging of war during this period?

2. What evidence does Glossop present on the current urgency of the war problem? Do you think he makes a plausible case?

3. Given the history of warfare that Glossop presents, would you say that war is general among humans or specific to just a few cultures? Explain.

Glossop, Ch 4 "The Cause of War: Some General Considerations"

1. Glossop defines war as "large-scale violent conflict between organized groups that are governments or that aim to establish governments." Given this definition, what conditions are necessary for war and what condition are sufficient, and why are the former conditions individually necessary and the latter conditions collectively sufficient?

2. To cause a phenomenon one needs to obtain a sufficient condition and to prevent a phenomenon one need to eliminate a necessary condition. Why would the elimination of a sufficient cause of war be insufficient to end war, and why would the elimination of war be insufficient for ending violence?

3. Theorists such as Lorenz and Freud contend that individual aggression is part of human nature. What are some of the main criticisms that have been raised against such theories, and why is the failure of empirical research to confirm these theories insufficient to declare them to be false?

4. Some theorists present individual aggression as the cause of war. Why, if humans are by nature aggressive, would this individual characteristic not imply that wars will necessarily occur, and what would have to be the case if the control of individual aggression is insufficient to eliminate war?

5. Both Glossop and Kellas link war to groups, and both challenge common assumptions about human nature. In what ways do they see group behavior as different from individual behavior, and what is the significance for the potential elimination of war of their regarding most supposed causes of war as only contributing conditions?

Glossop, Ch 5, "Group Competition and Group Identification"
1. Glossop distinguishes group competition and group identification in treating the cause of war. Is each of these phenomenon necessary for war? Can these phenomena be positive and, if so, under what conditions? Can these phenomena be negative and, if so, under what conditions?

2. As arenas of group competition, Glossop cites survival, economy, ideology, and status. Which of these arenas do you regard as the most likely to foster conditions that can lead to war, and why do you hold to this view? In your judgment, which of these arenas is the most easily managed in a way to decreases the likelihood of war and what are your reasons?

3. In addressing group identification, Glossop distinguishes a nation and a nation-state. What is the significance of this distinction? How does the meaning of nationalism relate to this distinction?

4. In your judgment, in the post-Cold War World has the prospect that nationalism will serve as a cause of war increased or decreased? Is one type of nationalism stronger and more threatening than others in the post-Cold War World? What is the basis for your judgment?

Glossop, Ch 6 "Other Views about Causes of War"
1. How has the character of arms races changed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Do current arms races make war more or less likely? What can and should be done in response to post-Cold War changes in arms racing?

2. Can particular villains cause war? If the villains are stopped, can war be avoided? Do you regard any particular person as a villain who caused war? What conditions facilitated this person's ability to cause war?

3. Is the use of war to suppress internal dissension usually successful? If so, what is an example and how did it work? Are there alternatives to war for addressing internal dissension? If so, do you consider any of them to be more effective and appropriate than war and why?

4. Given Glossop's definitions of war and justice in the second chapter, what is the irony in presenting war as an effort to eliminate injustice? Is it possible for a war to create more injustice than it eliminates and, if so, how can such a consequence occur?

5. Are there cases where no peaceful alternative to war exists? If there are such cases, does this fact justify war? If so, under what conditions? If not, why not?

Glossop, Ch 7 "The Value of War"
1. Glossop discusses the biological, technological, economic, psychological, social, and moral value of war. On the basis of which of these factors do you believe the best case can be made for the value of war?

2. The factors that Glossop designates as the value of war could also be viewed in relation to the functions of war. Does war serve biological, technological, economic, psychological, social, and moral functions? In your judgment, is war sometimes sufficient to satisfy some of these functions? If so, which ones, and how does war satisfy them?

3. Even if war can be sufficient to satisfy biological, technological, economic, psychological, social, and moral functions, this possibility does not establish that war is necessary for the satisfying any of these functions. Are there alternative routes to the satisfaction of these functions? Can these alternatives be sufficient and do they have equal or greater merit than war?

4. Even if in the past war has served biological, technological, economic, psychological, social, and moral functions, the nature of war in the twentieth century may have changed to a degree that it is no longer functional. How do nuclear weapons affect the functionality of war? Do other types of warfare, such as biological and chemical war, threaten the functionality of war?

Glossop, Ch 8 "Ideological Aspects of the Contemporary Situation"
1. Explain the difference between the principle of merit and the principle of equality. How does this distinction relate to a leftist or rightist ideology? Why is the rightist characterized as "individualistic, naturalistic, scientific," while the leftist is viewed as "collectivist, humanistic, ethical and idealistic"? Explain and provide an example of each.

2. Summarize Glossop's application of merit vs. equality to the issue of grading. Which type of grading system do you feel is most just? Explain your position.

3. Distinguish between political and economic ideology; provide an example of each. Using the chart on page 114 as your guide, discuss which cell seems closest to your own views.

4. Compare capitalist democracy and communism as ideologies; how do they differ as actual systems? What do you see as the main differences and similarities between these competing ideologies?

5. How do you think ideologies effect the likelihood of war? Of Peace? Explain.

Glossop, Ch 9 "National-Historical Aspects of the Contemporary Situation"
1. Glossop contrasts the world view of the United States, Russia, Western Europe, Japan and China. Summarize how each (a) views the other world powers and (b) the Third World.

2. Compare the philosophical underpinnings of the United States and Russia. How do their ideologies influence their foreign policy (e.g. during the Cold War)?

3. With collapse of communism and socialism in Russia, what directions do you think Russia will now take? Do you see Russia as an enemy of the United States today? Explain.

4. Compare the world views of Japan and Western Europe. How do they see the United States? Do either represent a military or economic threat to the United States? If the United States were to go to war against anyone in the North, who would it be? Explain.

5. At a general level, compare the first and third worlds. How are the interests of the Third World different from those of First World? If you were in the Third World, how would you define justice and equality?

Glossop, Ch 10 "Military Aspects of the Contemporary Situation"
1. Discuss the changes in war after WWII in terms of theory (deterrence), new weapons (nuclear) and military strategy. How are these different from conventional war fighting? Note: You may want to refer back to earlier notes from class and from other readings.

2. What have been the major arms control agreements since the end of World War II? How have such agreements influenced the Cold War and the post-Cold War periods? Do such agreements ever work?

3. What have been the major bi-lateral nuclear agreements between the United States and Russia. Did the collapse of the Soviet Union hurt or help the arms control process?

4. Do you think bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreements can reduce the possibility of war? Explain your position. Do you agree with Glossop that we need non-nuclear agreements as well?

Bonus Questions: Do you think "bi-" aptly characterizes "Billy"? Do you think philosophers can ever reach any agreements? If Billy were the last person alive, do you think he would argue with himself?

Glossop, Ch 11 "Institutional Aspects of the Contemporary Situation"

1. Various attempts have been made to establish international or global political organizations. How does the United Nations differ from the League of Nations?

2. Distinguish between the concepts of collective security and peacekeeping. Give examples of peacekeeping in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

3. Many people argue that the United Nations was powerless during the Cold War. Why?

4. Briefly distinguish between the three periods of influence in the United Nations? How did the influence of the United States change over time?

5. What do you see as the three to four major accomplishments of the United Nations?

6. What are functional agencies? How do they deal with the existence of the nation state system?

7. On the basis of this chapter, would you argue that the United Nations has played an important role in reducing war? Explain

Glossop, Ch 12 "Legal Aspects"
1. What is international law? How does it differ from municipal or domestic law?

2. How has international law changed/evolved during the 20th century, especially what changes were brought about with the development of the League of Nations and the United Nations? In what direction is international law moving?

3. Identify the 4 sources of international law. Apply these to a hypothetical situation in which one country accuses another of using biological weapons of mass destruction. How might an international court refer to these four sources of law?

4. Summarize the problems and possible benefits of enforcing international law. Do you think a system of international law is possible given the current system of nation-states? Explain.

Glossop, Ch 13 "Reforming the Attitudes of Individuals"
1. Glossop argues that "education" as a solution to changing the attitudes of individuals must be understood to include the home/media/school, etc. Given the fact that we live in a warist culture, discuss how education might be utilized in these different settings to change attitudes. Must we reduce warism before adopting attitudes conducive to peace?

2. On what basis does Glossop argue that the attitudes of (1) interest in social issues; (2) skepticism and tolerance and (3) unselfishness will have a positive impact on attitudes toward war and peace?

3. Compare the attitudes of patriotism and humatriotism. Do you think it is possible to identify with both identities? Explain.

4. In 1776 we issued a "Declaration of Independence" in which we detailed the abuses of colonialism and declared allegiance to a different set of values. If we were to write a "Declaration of Independence from War," what might we say? How might we argue that war is tyrannical and peace an objective to which we declare our allegiance?

Chapter 14 "Reforming the Internal Operation of National Governments"
1. Compare the three perspectives (Western, Marxist, Gandhi-King) on changing national governments to limit the occurrence and severity of war. Does democracy seem to be the main answer to war?

2. Which of the three perspectives do you find most convincing? Why?

3. Which of the three perspectives would be most likely to stop a future Hitler-type leader? Explain

Chapter 15 "Reforming the Policies of National Governments"
1. Which of the various approaches to peace discussed in this chapter seems most prevalent during the past 50 or so years?

2. Which two or three approaches do you see as most applicable to the problem of nuclear weapons? Explain.

3. Which approaches to you see as most plausible to confront the dangers of conventional non-nuclear war? Explain

4. Which approach is most consistent with a world characterized by greater economic interdependence and political fragmentation? Explain

Chapter 16 "Reforming the International System"
1. Briefly summarize and compare the main ideas of the federalist, functionalist and populist approaches to reforming the international system.

2. Do you think that it is plausible to seek to limit sovereignty? Would it be plausible to limit nation-states in the same way we limit states in the US? Explain

3. What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the federalist, functional and populist approaches?