The need to contend with terrorism can be found in almost every sphere of life: security, prevention and suppression of terrorism, legal and ethical dilemmas regarding democratic issues, such as the individual's human rights, intelligence interrogations, the right of the public to know, as well as coping with social, psychological, and media-related issues.
The Conduct of Inquiry is a systematic, rounded, and wide-ranging inquiry into behavioral science. Kaplan is guided by the experience of sciences with longer histories, but he is bound neither to their problems nor to their solutions. Instead, he addresses the methodology of behavioral science in the broad sense of both method and science. The work is not a formal exercise in the philosophy of science but rather a critical and constructive assessment of the developing standards and strategies of contemporary social inquiry. He emphasizes the tasks, achievements, limitations, and dilemmas of the newer disciplines.
Philosophers of science usually choose to write about the most fully developed sciences because problems are clearer there. The result is ordinarily of little benefit to the behavioral scientist, whose task is clarification of method; here the precedents and analogies of physical science are obscure or inappropriate. The Conduct of Inquiry goes a long way in drawing upon the strengths of social research insights without simplifying the common concerns of the scientific enterprise as a whole. As Leonard Broom noted when the book initially appeared: "Kaplan fills a gap and does so with admirable clarity and often engaging wit. It lacks pomposity, pedantry, and pretension, and it is bound to make an impact on the teaching of and, with luck, research in the behavioral sciences."
Terrorism is often perceived as sheer madness, unreasonable use of extreme violence and senseless, futile political action. These assertions are challenged by this book. Combining ‘traditional’ thought (by Kaplan) on reason and unreason in terrorism with empirical explorations of post-modern terrorism and its use of communication platforms (by Weimann) the work uses interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary dimensions? to provide a multidimensional picture of critical issues in current politics and a deeper examination of their implications than previously available.
The book looks at various aspects of modern politics, from terrorism to protest, from decision-making to political discourse, applying the perspective of philosophical thought. To do so, political issues and actions are examined by using concepts such as reason, emotions, madness, magic, morality, absolutism, extremism, psychopathology, rationality and others. The analysis is rooted in theories and concepts derived from history, philosophy, religion, art, sociology, psychology, and political science.
This book, which was mostly written by the late Abraham Kaplan, an American philosopher, and edited and updated by Gabriel Weimann, will be of much interest to students of political violence/terrorism, philosophy, war and conflict studies and political science in general.