Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 279–291 | Cite as

Is It Morally Right to Use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in War?

Research Article

Abstract

Several robotic automation systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are being used in combat today. This evokes ethical questions. In this paper, it is argued that UAVs, more than any other weapon, may determine which normative theory the interpretation of the laws of war (LOW) will be based on. UAVs have advantages in terms of reducing casualties for the UAV possessor, but they may at the same time make war seem more like a risk-free enterprise, much like a computer game, lowering the threshold for starting a war. This indicates the importance of revising the LOW, or adding some rules that focus specifically on UAVs.

Keywords

Unmanned aerial vehicles Laws of war Robots 

References

  1. Arkin, R. C. (2009). Governing lethal behavior in autonomous robots. Boca Raton: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armstrong, M. (2008). Combat robots and perception management. Serviam, May/June 2008.Google Scholar
  3. Bourke, J. (1999). An intimate history of killing. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Brandt, R. B. (1972). Utilitarianism and the rules of war. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1(2), 145–165.Google Scholar
  5. Davis, D. (2008). Who decides: Man or machine? Armed Forces Journal.Google Scholar
  6. Fellous, J.-M., & Arbib, M. (Eds.). (2005). Who needs emotions? The brain meets the robot. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Foss, M. (2008). What are autonomous weapon systems and what ethical issues do they raise, June 27, http://marekfoss.org/works/Autonomous_Weapons.pdf.
  8. French, S. E. (2003). Code of the warrior. Exploring warrior values past and present. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  9. Grossman, D. (1995). On killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society. Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  10. Grossman, D. (1996). On killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society. New York: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  11. Hursthouse, R. (2002). On virtue ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ignatieff, M. (2000). Virtual war. Kosovo and beyond. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  13. Magnuson, S. (2007). Robo soldiers. National Defense (pp. 36–40). September 2007.Google Scholar
  14. McIntyre, A. (2008). Doctrine of double effect. The Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/double-effect/>.
  15. Orend, B. (2008). War. In Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition). URL= http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/war/.
  16. Sherman, N. (2005). Stoic warriors: The ancient philosophy behind the military mind. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Sidgwick, H. (2010). Elements of politics. New York: Nabu Press.Google Scholar
  18. Singer, P. W. (2009). Wired for war. The robotics revolution and conflict in the 21st century. New York: The Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  19. U.S. Army SBIR Solicitation 07.2, Topic A07-032. (2007). Multi-agent based small unit effects planning and collaborative engagement with unmanned systems (pp. 57–68).Google Scholar
  20. Walzer, M. (2006). Just and unjust wars. New York: The Perseus Books Group.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PhilosophyRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations