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The Case Against Weapons Research

The Case Against Weapons Research
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Author(s): John Forge (University of Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 11
Source title: The Changing Scope of Technoethics in Contemporary Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5094-5.ch007


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Weapons research seeks to design new or improved weapons and their ancillary structures. This chapter argues that weapons research is both morally wrong and morally unjustified. This “case against weapons research” requires lengthy discussion and the argument given here is a summary of that discussion. The central claim is that the “standard justification” for all forms of weapons acquisition and deployment, which appeals to defense and deterrence, does not stand up for weapons research because the harms caused by the latter projects into the future in unknowable ways. Weapons research produces practical knowledge in the form of designs for the means to harm, and its practitioners cannot know how this knowledge will be used in the future.

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