Weapons Research is Morally Wrong

  • John ForgeEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)


Weapons are artefacts, which is to say that they are ‘man-made’, crafted by us for some end or reason. Artefacts are of two basic kinds: the aesthetic and the practical. The former are made to be admired, while the later are made because the help us achieve something, either something that we could not do unaided, or do something more cheaply, more easily, more efficiently, etc. Weapons are practical artefacts: they enable people to harm others more easily, more cheaply, more efficiently, in new ways, on a grander scale, and so forth. I am going to begin this chapter by considering weapons as (practical) artefacts, so we can better understand the kind of things they are. Weapons research, as we have seen, is an endeavour that seeks out new kinds of weapons: weapons that are altogether entirely new, like the atomic bomb and the catapult; weapons that are new variants on a type, such as the German Mauser rifle; weapons that are improvements on an existing weapon, like an improved version of the Soviet M-34 battle tank; or new or improved ancillary structures, such as the chariot and the galleon, first used as a weapons platform in the 16th century Anglo-Dutch wars. Weapons research aims to find workable designs for weapons and their ancillary structures.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of History and Philosophy of ScienceSydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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