A belief analysis of the build-up to the 2003 Iraq War

IBRAHIM, Salim Mustafa (2012). A belief analysis of the build-up to the 2003 Iraq War. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This project aims to analyse the build-up to the 2003 Iraq war from a doxastic perspective, taking the nuclear and terror belief propositions as the paradigm of the professed rationale for the war. The Bush administration expressed a belief in favour of the given rationale under conditions epistemically inadequate to warrant belief. I will explore the concept of belief in relation to acceptance and faith in a bid to highlight the distinctive character of belief. The research aims to examine a possible attribution of belief and acceptance in light of the evidential conditions at the time. In an attempt to establish the epistemic status of the given paradigm belief propositions, taking them at face value, the research explores a commonsensical, internalism, and a non-commonsensical, externalism, justification theory along with deontologism as a possible source of motivation behind the internalist constraint on justification. This research concludes, in light of the evidential conditions at the time, that the given supposed beliefs can be rightly characterised as neither paradigmatic nor nonparadigmatic cases of belief. That is, it concludes that neither belief nor pragmatic belief can be rightly attributed to the given supposed believing subjects. Rather, it concludes - in light of the new security environment, the nature of the alleged threat in question, the certainty thresholds and evidential standards considered appropriate to accept a given threat in a post- 9/11 era, the inadequacy of the available supporting evidence along with the risk asymmetries associated with accepting or rejecting that p - that the given alleged cases of belief are more apt to be characterised as cases of mere propositional acceptance. That is, of course, if the given supposed beliefs were genuine propositional attitudes rather than pretended beliefs or mere public display. The originality of this thesis emanates from the epistemological approach I have taken to examine the Bush administration's case for the war. In light of what I have concluded in relation to the epistemic status of the given supposed beliefs, my contribution to knowledge is also the demonstration that the commonsensical view of justification - represented by the internalist account - is the theory that is most consistent with our intuitions of the rationality of belief. I argue that internalism receives its intuitive appeal from our commonsensical convictions of epistemic justification rather than from deontological considerations, as claimed by rival externalists.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Green, Keith
Thesis advisor - Collins, Bruce [0000-0002-4521-6302]
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 14:11
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7845

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