David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Social Philosophy and Policy 3 (01):136- (1985)
Nuclear deterrence is paradoxical. One paradox of nuclear deterrence we may call the rationality paradox: While it is a rational policy to threaten nuclear retaliation against an opponent armed with nuclear weapons, it would not be rational to carry out the retaliation should the threat fail to deter; and what would not be rational to do is not, in the circumstances characteristic of nuclear deterrence, rational to threaten to do. This is a paradox in the standard sense that it involves contradictory claims, for it implies that adopting a policy of nuclear deterrence is both rational and not rational, yet we have strong reason to believe that each of the claims is true. Claim is a recognition that, though we believe nuclear deterrence works, there would seem to be no reason to carry out the threat if it were to fail. Claim is part of the logic of all forms of deterrence, military and nonmilitary, and it relates to the important notion of credibility: if an opponent knows that one has no reason to carry out a threat, the threat would not be credible and so one would have no reason to make it. Further, it is characteristic of a state of nuclear deterrence that the opponent would recognize that one would have no reason to carry out the threat. The rationality paradox is but one of the paradoxes raised by nuclear deterrence. Some other of the paradoxes of nuclear deterrence have the same form as the rationality paradox: for a certain set of predicates x, the act of threatening nuclear retaliation is x, while the act of carrying out the threat would be not-x; and if it is not-x to perform some action, then, in the circumstances generally characteristic of a situation of nuclear deterrence, it is not-x to threaten to perform that action
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeff McMahan (1989). Is Nuclear Deterrence Paradoxical?:Nuclear Deterrence, Morality, and Realism. John Finnis, Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., Germain Grisez; Moral Paradoxes of Nuclear Deterrence. Gregory Kavka. [REVIEW] Ethics 99 (2):407-.
Steven Lee (1985). The Morality of Nuclear Deterrence: Hostage Holding and Consequences. Ethics 95 (3):549-566.
W. E. Seager (1984). Is Nuclear Deterrence Paradoxical? Dialogue 23 (02):187-198.
John Finnis, Joseph Boyle & Germain Grisez (1988). Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism. Clarendon Press.
Saul Smilansky (2005). The Paradoxical Relationship Between Morality and Moral Worth. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):490-500.
Robert McKim (1985). An Examination of a Moral Argument Against Nuclear Deterrence. Journal of Religious Ethics 13 (2):279 - 297.
Duncan MacIntosh (1992). Preference-Revision and the Paradoxes of Instrumental Rationality. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (4):503-529.
Robert W. Tucker (1985). Morality and Deterrence. Ethics 95 (3):461-478.
Kenneth W. Kemp (1987). Nuclear Deterrence and the Morality of Intentions. The Monist 70 (3):276-297.
John J. Haldane (1985). Notes and Comments. The Morality of Deterrence. Heythrop Journal 26 (1):41–46.
William H. Shaw (1985). On the Morality of Nuclear Deterrence. Journal of Applied Philosophy 2 (1):41-52.
Cheyney Ryan (1988). Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism. The Personalist Forum 4 (1):44-46.
G. R. Dunstan (1982). Theological Method in the Deterrence Debate. In Geoffrey L. Goodwin (ed.), Ethics and Nuclear Deterrence. St. Martin's Press.
John Kultgen (1991). Nuclear Deterrence and the Morality of Intentions. Southwest Philosophy Review 7 (1):105-117.
Russell Hittinger (1989). Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism. International Philosophical Quarterly 29 (2):229-233.
Added to index2010-08-31
Total downloads2 ( #405,113 of 1,679,470 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #182,904 of 1,679,470 )
How can I increase my downloads?