Love, Intention, and Proportion: Paul Ramsey on the Morality of Nuclear Deterrence

Journal of Religious Ethics 16 (2):201 - 221 (1988)
This article assays Paul Ramsey's influential attempt to conceive possible nuclear deterrents within the confines of just war tenets. I look first at Ramsey's construction of just war ideas according to a protection paradigm, one in which agape is deontically defined. I also note a subtle sub-theme in Ramsey's construction of just war ideas, what I call a preservation motif. I then assess Ramsey's discussion of nuclear deterrence, closing with a critique of his treatments of intention and proportionality. I conclude by arguing that Ramsey's argument falters, and that the weaknesses of his argument can be rendered intelligible by noting how the full implications of the protection paradigm are attenuated by the preservation motif.
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