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Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism

by John Finnis; Joseph Boyle & Germain Grisez

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ethics & moral philosophy
list price: $58.95
category: Philosophy
published: 1999
imprint: Clarendon Press

Nuclear deterrence requires objective ethical analysis. In providing it, the authors face realities - the Soviet threat, possible nuclear holocaust, strategic imperatives - but they also unmask moral evasions - deterrence cannot be bluff, pure counterforce, the lesser (or greater) evil, or astep towards disarmament. They conclude that the deterrent is unjustifiable and examine the new question of conscience that this raises for everyone.

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Contributor notes

John Finnis is at University College, Oxford. Joseph Boyle is at University of Toronto.

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Editorial Reviews

' more coherent than many such multiple author ventures. The book will certainly become a source text for the anti-nuclear lobby.'The RUSI Journal

' It is the most important contribution so far to the debate over the ethics of nuclear deterrence.' New York Review of Books

'This truly remarkable book ... this deeply felt, clearly written and precisely argued book about fundamental issues.' Philosophica

'a formidable challenge to the moral legitimacy of nuclear deterrence ... exceptionally important ... they write from a well defined and carefully presented position.' The Tablet

'The clarity and precision with which the authors set out the arguments and difficulties should attract everyone concerned about the morality of nuclear deterrence ... This rigorous yet highly readable book compels us to think carefully through the arguments.'Defence and Disarmament

'probably the most important book in this field [for] ten years ... rigorous yet highly readable.'International Affairs

'truly remarkable book ... deeply felt, clearly written and precisely argued book about fundamental issues.' Philosophica

'Its philosophical quality is high; its treatment of strategic matters highly competent; ... a challenge to all who read the detailed arguments carefully, whether they be supporters or opponents of nuclear deterrence.' Millenium

'a most careful and meticulous study of one of the most agonising moral problems of our times.'Month

' This book is an important and carefully argued addition to a resurgent literature on the morality of nuclear deterrence. ... the book lives in the mind for the compelling challenge it throws out, through its totally convincing attack on consequentialism, to all those who would justify orcondemn nuclear deterrence. It consigns broad acres of past debate to the flames.'The Round Table

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About the Authors

John Finnis

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Joseph Boyle

Joseph Boyle is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, Principal of St. Michael's College, and a member of the Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.

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Germain Grisez

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