Immoral Risks: A Deontological Critique of Nuclear Deterrence

Social Philosophy and Policy 3 (1):154 (1985)
I. Beyond Utilitarianism In the summer of 1982, I published an article called “Missiles and Morals,” in which I argued on utilitarian grounds that nuclear deterrence in its present form is not morally justifiable. The argument of “Missiles and Morals” compared the most likely sort of nuclear war to develop under nuclear deterrence with the most likely sort of nuclear war to develop under American unilateral nuclear disaramament. For a variety of reasons, I claimed diat the number of casualties in a two-sided nuclear war developing under DET would be at least fifteen times greater than the number of casualties in a one-sided nuclear attack developing under UND. If one assumes that human lives lost or saved is the principal criterion by which nuclear weapons policies should be measured, it follows that DET is morally superior to UND on utilitarian grounds only if the chance of a two-sided nuclear war under DET is more than fifteen times less dian the chance of a one-sided nuclear attack under UND. Since I did not believe that the chance of nuclear war under deterrence is fifteen times less than the chance of nuclear war under unilateral nuclear disarmament, I inferred diat utilitaranism failed to justify DET. Indeed, on utilitarian grounds, DET stood condemned
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0265052500000212
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Jan Narveson (1986). On Defense by Nuclear Deterrence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 16 (sup1):195-211.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Arthur Hockaday (1982). In Defence of Deterrence. In Geoffrey L. Goodwin (ed.), Ethics and Nuclear Deterrence. St. Martin's Press.
Geoffrey Goodwin (1982). Deterrence and Détente. In Geoffrey L. Goodwin (ed.), Ethics and Nuclear Deterrence. St. Martin's Press.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

12 ( #355,523 of 1,925,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,223 of 1,925,584 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.