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What's wrong with the definition provided? (Defining vs. criteria of application)

Reader comment on item: Terrorism Defies Definition
in response to reader comment: What's wrong with the definition provided?

Submitted by Daniel D. Novotny (United States), Oct 29, 2014 at 09:26

My preferred definition is slightly different - but still similar to the official one:

"An act is terrorist if and only if (1) it is committed by an individual or group of individuals privately, i.e. without the legitimate authority of a recognized state; (2) it is directed indiscriminately against non-combatants; (3) the goal of it is to achieve something politically relevant; (4) this goal is pursued by means of fear-provoking violence."

The problem is not so much with the definition itself but with the criteria of application. These are two quite different problems. We might have a good definition of a certain disease but not good diagnostic criteria for finding it out. So the next step should be to find out legal criteria of applying the concept (which is in itself satisfatorily clear).

Submitting....

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