A theory of the super soldier

The morality of capacity-increasing technologies in the military

Throughout history, states have tried to create the perfect combatant, with superhuman physical and cognitive features akin to those of comic book superheroes. However, the current innovations have nothing to do with the ones from the past, and their development goes beyond a simple technological perspective. On the contrary, they are raising the prospect of a human-enhancement revolution that will change the ways in which future wars will be fought and may even profoundly alter the foundations upon which our modern societies are built. This book discusses the full ethical implications of these new technologies, making it a unique resource for students and scholars interested in the morality of warfare.

Refusing to adopt a binary vision, political theorist Jean-François Caron argues that, when analysed from an ethical viewpoint, the development and use of capacity-increasing technologies in the military is far more complex than it first appears, since it presents us with a significant moral dilemma. On the one hand, enhancing soldiers’ capacities can be interpreted as a moral obligation on the part of the military. On the other, such technologies might also end up harming fundamental moral principles of warfare. Without condemning them as evil and inadmissible, Professor Caron proposes a nuanced and balanced appraisal of capacity-increasing technologies in the military as a tool that ought to be used contingently on the respect of certain moral criteria.

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