Elke Schwarz
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Ethics as technics
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This chapter transitions away from Arendt and begins to analyse the ethical implications of violent political practices. Throughout the focus is on how a specific form of ethics is produced through contemporary biopolitical regimes and the violent technologies associated with these. The chapter begins by mounting a critique of practical or applied ethics, which is the conception of ethics that dominates contemporary debates over war and armed conflict. It is argued that such a conception not only reduces ethics to technical practice (rendered as code and facilitated through algorithmic operations), but also puts ethics beyond contestation through its reliance on professionalism and ostensibly superior modes of technology. The result is an adiaphorised form of ethics that not only justifies but in many cases also legislates for violent interventions on the basis of a deep techno-biopolitical logic.

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Death machines

The ethics of violent technologies


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