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Social Sciences - Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility | Designed to Kill: The Case Against Weapons Research

Designed to Kill: The Case Against Weapons Research

Series: Research Ethics Forum, Vol. 1

Forge, John

2013, XIV, 314 p.

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  • Discusses the neglected topic of weapons research in the literature of applied ethics/applied moral philosophy  
  • Argues that weapons research is morally wrong and morally unjustifable  
  • Provides a wide ranging use of examples, from ancient weapons to those of the present day​

The pilot-less drones, smart bombs and other high-tech weapons on display in recent conflicts are all the outcome of weapons research. However, the kind of scientific and technological endeavour has been around for a long time, producing not only the armaments of Nazi Germany and the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, but the catapults used in ancient Greece and Rome and the assault rifles used by child soldiers in Africa.  In this book John Forge examines such weapons research and asks whether it is morally acceptable to undertake such an activity. He argues that it is in fact morally wrong to take part in weapons research as its primary purpose is to produce the means to harm others, and moreover he argues that all attempts to then justify participation in weapons research do not stand up to scrutiny.

This book has wide appeal in fields of philosophy and related areas, as well to a more general audience who are puzzled about the rate at which new weapons are accumulated.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Just War Theory - case against weapons research - common morality - moral justification - war and research - weapons research

Related subjects » Applied & Technical Physics - Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Medicine

Table of contents 

Chapter 1; Weapons, Weapons Research and the Case Against Weapons Research.- Chapter 2; The Development of Projectile Weapons: Ancient Catapults.- Chapter 3; The Development of Projectile Weapons 2: Firearms.- Chapter 4; The Development of Nuclear Weapons.- Chapter 5; The Moral Dimension of Weapons Research.- Chapter 6; How to Make The Case Against Weapons Research.- Chapter 7; Defensive, Deterrent and ‘Humane’ Weapons.- Chapter 8; Weapons Research, Contexts and Justifications, and the Analogy with Explanation.- Chapter 9; Just War Theory and Wartime Weapons Research.- Chapter 10; War and Realism.- Chapter 11; Commercial Weapons Research and Peacetime Weapons Research.- Chapter 12; Wartime Weapons Research and Supreme Emergency in World War Two.- Chapter 13; Conclusion and Review of the Major Claims and Assumptions.

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