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Killing by Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military Hardcover – May 30, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0199926121 ISBN-10: 0199926123

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199926123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199926121
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Given its commendably wide scope, this volume warrants attention from anyone, philosopher or otherwise, with an interest in the ongoing debate on drones."--Jeremy Davis, Toronto Review of Books

"A path-breaking volume! BJ Strawser, an internationally known analyst of drone ethics, has assembled a broad spectrum of civilian and military experts to create the first book devoted to this hot-button issue. This important work represents vanguard thinking on weapon systems that make headlines nearly every day. It will catalyze debates policy-makers and military leaders must have in order to preserve peace and protect the innocent."--James Cook, Department Chair/Head of Philosophy, US Air Force Academy

"The use of 'drones' (remotely piloted air vehicles) in war has grown exponentially in recent years. Clearly, this evolution presages an enormous explosion of robotic vehicles in war -- in the air, on the ground, and on and under the sea. This collection of essays provides an invaluable contribution to what promises to be one of the most fundamental challenges to our assumptions about ethics and warfare in at least the last century. The authors in this anthology approach the ethical challenges posed by these rapidly advancing technologies from a wide range of perspectives. Cumulatively, they represent an essential overview of the fundamental ethical issues involved in their development. This collection makes a key contribution to an urgently needed dialogue about the moral questions involved."--Martin L. Cook, Adm. James B. Stockdale Professor of Professional Military Ethics, Professor Leadership & Ethics, College of Operational & Strategic Leadership, U.S. Naval War College

"Armed drones are one of the latest American and Israeli bright ideas of warfare -- how clever will summary execution from a distance seem when many of America's adversaries share this increasingly affordable technology? These spirited and diverse essays surface a wide range of moral, military, and technological issues concerning this innovation in killing."--Henry Shue, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford

"This timely and authoritative book takes the debate on drones to a new level. It is an intellectual treasure trove and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of modern war."--David Rodin, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict

About the Author

Bradley Strawser is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Defense Analysis Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He is also a Research Associate with Oxford's Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict. A prior Air Force Officer himself, Strawser's work specializes on the moral questions surrounding war and military ethics.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patton on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This surprisingly readable volume of essays on the ethics of drone warfare fills a huge gap that's being left by much of our media and public discourse. Our government has been employing unmanned aircraft for years, and the Obama Administration has significantly increased the use of such aircraft, but we've yet to see a virgous debate about these matters. KILLING BY REMOTE CONTROL should help kickstart that much-needed debate--and fortunately, it can help us find immediate proper footing. Bradley Jay Strawser's judicious selection and editing of essays reveals just how complex are the issues surrounding drones, and as his introductory essay suggests, once we start thinking seriously about these issues we may be surprised by where we land on them. (Chances are, whatever you think you think about drone warfare will be called into question by this book.) We need more of this kind of discourse -- morally engaged, philosophically grounded, informed not by the b.s. politics of the moment but by what our nation is actually doing with these tools and what it means for our moral present and future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Rose on December 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the broad range of opinions. Killing by Remote Control is a great introduction into the hot topic of drone warfare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Power. Justice. Right. Wrong. Restraint. Force. This book is important, needed, and appreciated.

Bradley Jay Strawser has written and gathered an extremely important group of essays in this book on "Killing by Remote Control." In a world that seems to do an increasing amount of brainstem storming, these essays are thoughtful, articulate, well-reasoned, and still manage to be intense, even passionate.

This book generates an important conversation regarding strength, force, and power used in noble and moral ways. For many this may seem simply too prosaic, even inherently contradictory. Strawser and his contributors give strong evidence that this is not the case. They do this, not by being univocal, nor simplistic, in their analysis, but, quite the converse, by providing multiple perspectives articulated clearly. Whether in families, cities, or nations, this kind of thinking is worth our - very - serious attention.

For example, Bradley's first chapter offers a reasoned opinion, one is thankful just for that, on the use of `drones." Hallgrath's essay on Just War Theory was a helpful frame on which to hang the rest of the essays. Sparrow's essay is perhaps most poignant for those of us interested in what forms souls but we are not ourselves, nor most of our circle, directly related to military action. Uwe Steinhoff's essay provides a strong and appreciated counter theme to other parts of the book in his stronger overall disapproval of their use. All are worth the read.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Geilfuss on September 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover

This article is about Dr. Strawser's philosophy, albeit with Strawser characterized under the pseudonym 'Peter Veld'. Key passage: 'He argues that philosophy can happen only in a state of leisure, which he defines somewhat narrowly as freedom from fear of immediate danger and death. Since the most physically dangerous part of a drone operator's job is probably his commute to the base where he spends his day in front of the computer, as Peter and I spend our days, he now has the gift of leisure to reflect on his actions. From this observation follows the most radical claim in Peter's essay, that "as technology makes warfare more leisurely it has, for the first time, the chance to be genuinely and complexly philosophical." Insulated from their deaths on the field of battle, soldiers may now think. Nevertheless, it remains their "existential purpose" as soldiers to kill people. This, thinks Peter, causes emotional and intellectual difficulties for them, and for him. Yet these difficulties are but a prelude to philosophy. Peter glimpses a future in which our American warriors, physically remote from the theater of engagement, will be able, to a degree unusual in the history of warfare, to deliberate on the propriety of killing, and will become philosophers in their own right, debating the reasons behind their actions, just as Peter might have once simulated a debate on the propriety of torturing a suspect or dropping a bomb.

Don't blame me if this sounds ludicrous. I'm not making this part up. I too want to critique Peter, to debate him. His concept of leisure, for instance, is already a somewhat vexed rendering of the already vexed Greek word scholé used by Aristotle.
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