- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Clarendon Press (September 15, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198247915
- ISBN-13: 978-0198247913
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,336,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism
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"An important book [that] could change the teaching of the Catholic Church on the morality of nuclear deterrence."--America
"The most important contribution so far to the debate over the ethics of nuclear deterrence."--New York Review of Books
"An excellent, sophisticated contribution, perhaps the best that has been set out among the many recent books on this difficult but crucial subject."--American Political Science Review
"The aspects of deterrence that are often said to give rise to moral paradoxes are discussed with greater rigor, imagination, and thoroughness than in any previous work....Deserve[s] and will repay careful study."--Ethics
"Exceptionally important."--The Review of Politics
About the Author
John Finnis is at University College, Oxford. Joseph Boyle is at University of Toronto.
Top customer reviews
I'm not sure how many readers would go this far; as the authors admit, their ethical philosophy really only makes sense in a Christian theological context. That said, any reader would appreciate the book's thoughtfulness, clarity, and fairness to all views; the argument is a model of applied ethics, especially as the authors took the time to master the technicalities of nuclear strategy. I took off one star only because the writing is occasionally belabored.
Note: the moral theory underlying this book is introduced in a simpler and more straightforward way in other books by Germain Grisez and John Finnis, two of the authors. Readers interested in moral philosophy rather than nuclear strategy should consult these other works.
But it would be a great shame to let the book be forgotten for this reason. Finnis, Grisez, and Boyle are three of the leading scholars responsible for the revival of Natural Law theories in the late twentieth century, and their book presents their joint effort in analyzing the moral deficiencies of consequentialist (outcome-oriented) thinking. The book is well worth owning for just this reason. No matter one's feelings about the success of Natural Law reasoning (and I have considerable doubts), this book will help any reader better understand what is truly at stake in, for instance, contemporary debates over the use of torture.
Chapter 10 remains one of the most accessible "NNL in a nutshell" passages available.