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Thinking About Nuclear WeaponsPrinciples, Problems, Prospects$
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Michael Quinlan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.001.0001

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The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons

The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons

(p.46) 5 The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons
Thinking About Nuclear Weapons

Michael Quinlan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the acute moral problems which the existence of nuclear weapons poses for all possible ethical viewpoints. Against the background of the Just War tradition of analysis, it notes the difficulties which the possession of nuclear weapons, and willingness ultimately to contemplate their use, must entail—especially about jus in bello criteria—but sets alongside these the different but no less severe problems which any other basic moral position, renouncing unconditionally any possibility of use, must confront. It argues, in face of the inescapable choice among these positions, that nuclear possession and use in extremis cannot be condemned absolutely, but it recognizes that the severity of the dilemmas underscores the need to take seriously the aspiration eventually to escape from them all by the abolition of nuclear armouries.

Keywords:   abolition, dilemmas, inescapable choice, jus in bello, just war, moral problems

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