1. the individual perceives risk and danger in a given situation or behavior;Now, I've been teaching and thinking about Aristotle, and so my first problem with this definition of courage is that it doesn't say anything about "false" forms of courage--viz. rashness. Without that, as Silke acknowledges, the claim that terrorists can exhibit courage is unremarkable, since all that needs to be shown is that they satisfy the three conditions above--which he shows is often the case.
2. the individual experiences fear and anxiety in relation to this perceived risk; and,
3. the individual nevertheless enters the situation or proceeds with the behavior (p. 184)
But from here, Silke questions "whether courage warrants consideration as a virtue in and of itself" (p. 195). The answer seems obvious: not if that's how you characterize courage. Or perhaps: it has no moral value in the absence of other virtues. (To be fair, this question has been discussed by some philosophers, too, but I'm not yet in a position to discuss that.) This is where the failure to consider what a virtue is reveals the relative shallowness of Silke's discussion of courage. Is courage a one-off deal? How stable must the disposition to act in the face of fears be?
I think it is a legitimate question whether we could/should withdraw ascriptions of courage because the person is acting upon a mistaken/misguided judgment or commitment. How far can one deviate in good judgment before this makes the ascription of courage problematic (and not just uncomfortable)? I'm just starting to think about this, so input will be quite appreciated.
One other thing that bugs me about Silke is the extent to which he emphasizes how "normal" terrorists are psychologically. This leads him to say: "it remains true that our enemies are capable of all the qualities of humans. They can be cruel or gentle, malicious or considerate, selfish or generous, stupid or intelligent. They can also be courageous or cowardly" (p. 195). On a few of these, I want to ask: to whom? Bat-Ami Bar On makes a powerful case, in "Why Terrorism Is Morally Problematic," that because terrorism involves terrorizing (often innocent) people, it is an inherently cruel practice. If she's right, then qua terrorists (or freedom fighters, if you prefer), terrorists cannot be "cruel or gentle."
My sense is that a lot more work needs to be done on (3) above. Or at least, an Aristotelian approach would have to say more than "nevertheless." The point above about cruelty raises a question about whether it makes sense to say that a person who employs inherently immoral means can be said to have acted with, or exhibited, courage. Recall that in Aristotle's thought, the first requirement of virtuous action is that you have to know what you're doing. And if it's true that what terrorists do is cruel, and if they are unable to see (or acknowledge) that--which some of what Silke discusses would seem to confirm (since there's a lot of abstraction away from the humanity of the targets)--then this might be a clue to why it seems problematic to attribute courage to them.