War and Realism

  • John Forge
Part of the Research Ethics Forum book series (REFF, volume 1)


Any justification of WWR will have to do with the war that frames context for the episode of WR at issue. The war itself will most likely not be the whole question, but it will be at least part of the question. Thus an important part of any justification of WWR will be the justification of the war in which the episode takes place – this much is clear. In examining this assumption, I have argued that any theory about the morality of war that includes an ad bellum proportionality condition will prohibit WWR and I have argued that all acceptable theories of this kind will include such a condition. However, at the end of the last chapter I noted that there are other traditions and theories about war, about why nations and states fight wars and about what wars are, which have more currency than JWT. For example, there are many people who study war in the discipline of International Relations (IR), the main academic field for the study of war in the modern world, where the prevailing view is realism, sometimes called realpolitik or power politics. And I said that this perspective is relevant to the present inquiry, because it provides an alternative way of looking at war, and (hence) at WR. One of the conclusions to be established is that, so far, the weapons researcher must be concerned about how the products of her work will be used, and especially that they will be used for unjustified wars and harmings, and hopes that they will not; but once she adopts the realist perspective, she should expect that these things will tend to happen.


Moral Agent Atomic Bomb Political Unit International Relation Vital Interest 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Forge
    • 1
  1. 1.History and Philosophy of ScienceThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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