© 2019

The Morality of Weapons Research

Why it is Wrong to Design Weapons


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. John Forge
    Pages 1-11
  3. John Forge
    Pages 13-27
  4. John Forge
    Pages 29-46
  5. John Forge
    Pages 47-64
  6. John Forge
    Pages 65-75
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 95-103

About this book


This book addresses the morality of engaging in weapons research, a topic that has been neglected but which is extremely important. It is argued that this activity is both morally wrong and morally unjustifiable, and this implies that moral persons should not engage in it. The argument is not based on any pacifist assumptions: it is not assumed that neither individuals nor states should not defend themselves. What is wrong with weapons research is that it is the first step in the production of weapons, weapons are the means to harm, and harming without justification is always wrong. Those who study science, for instance those who are interested in the responsibilities of the scientist, are given a new perspective, while those who are practicing scientists will realize that they should not consider working to design new or improved weapons systems. This book is of interest to students and  researchers working in  ethics and technology, philosophy of technology, military ethics, and history of technology.


ethics of weapons research weapons as the means to harm justification for weapons research outcomes of weapons research just war theory weapons research and morality weapons to prevent harm weapons and ethics research ethics weapons design common morality defence and deterrence philosophy of technology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of History and Philosophy of ScienceThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

About the authors

John Forge attended the universities of Oxford, Cornell and University College London and obtained degrees in science and philosophy. His academic career has been spent in Departments of History and Philosophy of Science and Science and Technology Studies in Australia, although Forge has had fellowships at a number of (overseas) universities, including the Center for Philosophy of Science in Pittsburgh. For the last twenty years Forge’s research has focussed on issues of science and responsibility, and especially the morality of weapons research. His The Responsible Scientist (Pittsburgh 2008) received a number of awards, including the Eureka Prize for Research Ethics. Designed to Kill: The Case Against Weapons Research (Springer 2013) is a comprehensive account of the morality of weapons research.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Morality of Weapons Research
  • Book Subtitle Why it is Wrong to Design Weapons
  • Authors John Forge
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Ethics
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs in Ethics
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-16859-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-16860-5
  • Series ISSN 2211-8101
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-811X
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVI, 103
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Research Ethics
    Military and Defence Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site