The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons Dissemination: Moral Dilemmas of Aspiration, Avoidance and Prevention, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons Dissemination

Moral Dilemmas of Aspiration, Avoidance and Prevention, 1st Edition

By Thomas E. Doyle, II


174 pages

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Hardback: 9780415629232
pub: 2015-01-26
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This book examines the moral dilemmas of nuclear dissemination, and the justifications of both nuclear pursuit and avoidance by contemporary states.

Applying Constructivist methodologies and moral theory, the author analyses a core set of moral dilemmas that ensnare decision-makers amongst state and non-state nuclear aspirants, as well as amongst states committed to preventing horizontal proliferation. The book shows that the character, structure and implications of these dilemmas have not yet been adequately understood or appreciated, and that such an understanding is necessary for an effective set of nonproliferation policies. Furthermore, it shows that the dilemmas’ force and political policy import are evident in the 'discourses' that diverse actors undertake to defend their nuclear choices, and how the dilemmas of nuclear aspirants are implicated in those of nuclear preventers. The author advocates a number of policy recommendations that reinforce some already made by scholars and experts but, more importantly, others that advise significantly different courses of action. The book reveals how the moral dilemmas of nuclear aspiration, avoidance, and prevention constitute the security dilemmas and paradoxes that comprise much of the 21st century security environment.

This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, international relations, ethics, and international security studies.


"As the Iranian nuclear crisis enters a new phase, two new books – both short, but otherwise quite different – discuss the past and future of nuclear proliferation." - Lanxin Xiang, (2015)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Moral Dilemmas of Nuclear Aspiration: Pursuit or Avoidance 3. The Moral Dilemmas of Nuclear Prevention 4. Moral Dilemmas, Nuclear Terrorism, and Counter-Nuclear Terrorist Policy 5. Conclusion: Implications for Theory and Practice

About the Author

Thomas E. Doyle, II, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Texas State University, USA. He has a Phd in Political Science from the University of California Irvine (2010).

About the Series

War, Conflict and Ethics

Ethical judgments are relevant to all phases of protracted violent conflict and inter-state war. Before, during, and after the tumult, martial forces are guided, in part, by their sense of morality for assessing whether an action is (morally) right or wrong, an event has good and/or bad consequences, and an individual (or group) is inherently virtuous or evil. This new book series focuses on the morality of decisions by military and political leaders to engage in violence and the normative underpinnings of military strategy and tactics in the prosecution of the war.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General