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Author: William C. Gay


This essay addresses how the new approach of nonkilling philosophy can strengthen the alliance between peace studies and gender studies and how, in several ways, it is more radical in scope than either pacifism or feminism. Within pacifism and feminism, works by Robert Holmes, Betty Reardon, Duane Cady, and Karen Warren are discussed. Then, detailed consideration is given to the work of Spanish philosophers Irene Comins Mingol and Sonia París Albert who initiated nonkilling philosophy. Nonkilling philosophy contends that our primary normative focus and practical action should be directed, at the least, against all types of intentional killing of human beings and, ideally, also against many other types of killing of non-human life and the environment. This essay develops the thesis that nonkilling philosophy is not hampered by stereotypes that often thwart acceptance of pacifism and feminism and provides a constructive approach for criticizing militarism and sexism and for unifying efforts to respect, protect, and advance the value and diversity of life and the environment.

In: Pacifism, Politics, and Feminism
In: Communities of Peace
In: Remembrance and Reconciliation
In: Nonviolence: Critiquing Assumptions, Examining Frameworks
In: Nonviolence: Critiquing Assumptions, Examining Frameworks
In: Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization
Author: William C. Gay


The thesis of this essay is that language plays a central role in justifying cultural violence and in eliminating or at least reducing cultural violence. After defending the position that language can do violence and that such violence is inappropriate, this essay presents and supports Johan Galtung’s concepts of direct, structural, and cultural violence and builds on his inclusion of language as one of the areas of cultural violence. By contrast, problems are shown with the concepts of violence found in Slavoj Žižek and Paul Ricoeur. Then, the author’s concepts of linguistic violence and linguistic nonviolence are related to the work of Patricia Friedrich on peace linguistics and nonkilling linguistics and the work of Irene Comins Mingol and Sonia París Albert on nonkilling philosophy. Support is provided for their criticisms of linguistic imperialism and “linguicism” (a term modeled after racism and sexism) and for their efforts, like ones by bell hooks, to show how the oppressed, using the language of the oppressor (including English—despite its globally hegemonic status), can develop strategies of resistance. The essay concludes by suggesting that efforts to eliminate linguistic violence and to advance linguistic nonviolence are central to reducing cultural violence and to advancing social justice.

In: Peace, Culture, and Violence