Weapons for pacifism: Reconciling ideas in conflict

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The very idea of a pacifist weapon seems to be an oxymoron-pacifism is the opposition to killing and war, yet weapons are designed to kill. However, given the large and primarily negative impacts of war, if we take seriously the notion of Value Sensitive Design (VSD), that the design of technologies is not value neutral, we may have a moral duty to design pacifist military weapons. This chapter looks at four sorts of weapons-a space defense system like the US “Star Wars” program, nuclear weapons, cyberweapons and “warbots”-to present a matrix of “pacifist weapons” that differ significantly in how the design of the weapons relates to the value placed on pacifism. Henschke’s analysis shows that pacifist weapons are indeed plausible, that the term is not oxymoronic, but that our underpinning notions of pacifism and design impact the sorts of weapons that pacifism might require.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Nature of Peace and the Morality of Armed Conflict
    Editors Florian Demont-Biaggi
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Cham
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-57122-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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