Moral and political questions are vitally relevant to the issue of survival in the nuclear age. Ethics has much to teach us about the meaning of national defence and civic responsibility in the nuclear state. For instance, those in NATO who argue for increased spending on such weapons do so with the intention of defending the values of the West. They must therefore be absolutely sure that they are not – as the contributors to this volume, originally published in 1984, powerfully suggest – undermining or destroying those values by the very means they adopt to preserve them.
With the continued success of nuclear deterrence itself in question, responsible citizens feel an urgent need to assess the clash between personal doubts, cherished principles and their governments’ loudly voiced moral certainties. In Objections to Nuclear Defence, professional philosophers of widely varying persuasions provide new analyses of these problems. They spell out clearly and vividly the moral and political objections – objections to the concrete nuclear policies of the Western governments today. Often impassioned but always rational, the book will be of special interest to students of international affairs, peace studies and applied philosophy as well as to the general reader who is trying to choose between political parties in Europe or North America.