Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-j4fss Total loading time: 0.448 Render date: 2022-10-04T22:52:12.188Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Kantian nonideal theory and nuclear proliferation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2010

Thomas E. Doyle*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, School of Social Science, University of California, 3151 Social Science Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100, USA
*
* E-mail: tdoyle@uci.edu

Abstract

Recent revelations of Iran’s hitherto undisclosed uranium enrichment programs have once again incited western fears that Tehran seeks nuclear weapons’ capability. Their fears seem motivated by more than the concern for compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Rather, they seem strongly connected to the western moral assumptions about what kind of government or people can be trusted with a nuclear arsenal. In this paper, I critically examine the western assumptions of the immorality of contemporary nuclear proliferation from an international ethical stance that otherwise might be expected to give it unequivocal support – the stance of Kantian nonideal theory. In contrast to the uses of Kant that were prominent during the Cold War, I advance and apply a sketch of a Kantian nonideal theory that specifies the conditions (although strict conditions) under which nuclear proliferation for states like Iran is morally permissible even though the NPT forbids it.

Type
Original Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ansari, A.M. (2006), Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Next Great Conflict in the Middle East, New York, NY, USA: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Bakanic, E.D. (2008), ‘The End of Japan’s Nuclear Taboo’. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, retrieved 06/09/2008 from http://www.thebulletin.org/node/3105Google Scholar
Bederman, D.J. (2006), International Law Frameworks, 2nd edn., New York, NY, USA: Thomson West.Google Scholar
Beitz, C.R. [1979] (1999), Political Theory and International Relations, with a New Afterword by the Author, Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Booth, K. (2007), Theory of World Security, Cambridge Studies in International Relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bull, H. (1977), Anarchical Society, London, UK: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bunn, G. (2006), ‘The nuclear nonproliferation regime and its history’, in G. Bunn and C.F. Chyba (eds), US Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today’s Threats, Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Campbell, K.M., Einhorn, R.J.Reiss, M.B. (eds) (2004), The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices, Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institute Press.Google Scholar
Churchill, R.P. (1983), ‘Nuclear arms as a philosophical and moral issue’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 469: 4657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chyba, C.F., Braun, C.Bunn, G. (2006), ‘New challenges to the nonproliferation regime’, in G. Bunn and C.F. Chyba (eds), US Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today’s Threats, Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Donaldson, T. (1985), ‘Nuclear deterrence and self defense’, Ethics 95(3): 537548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Doyle, T.E. (2009a), ‘Moral dilemmas: acquiring nuclear weapons in the second nuclear age’. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of California, Irvine.Google Scholar
Doyle, T.E. (2009b), ‘The moral implications of the subversion of the nonproliferation treaty regime’, Ethics and Global Politics 2(2): 131154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Einhorn, R.J. (2004), ‘Will the abstainers reconsider? Focusing on individual cases’, in K.M. Campbell, R.J. Einhorn and M.B. Reiss (eds), The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices, Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Fuerth, L. (2004), ‘Turkey: nuclear choices amongst dangerous neighbors’, in K.M. Campbell, R.J. Einhorn, and M.B. Reiss (eds), The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices, Washington, DC, USA: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Gauthier, D. (1984), ‘Deterrence, maximization, and rationality’, Ethics 94(3): 474495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hashmi, S.H.Lee, S.P. (eds) (2004), Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives, Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hobbes, T. [1651] (1968), Leviathan. Ed and introd by C. B. Macpherson. Baltimore, Md, USA: Penguin.Google Scholar
Hoffe, O. (2006), Kant’s Cosmopolitan Theory of Law and Peace, Alexandra Newton. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hymans, J.E.C. (2006), The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions, and Foreign Policy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, I. (1785), ‘Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals’, in M.J. Gregor (ed.), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kant, I. (1793), ‘Religion within the boundaries of mere reason’, in A.W. Wood and G.D. Giovanni (eds), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Religion and Rational Theology, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 39–216.Google Scholar
Kant, I. (1795), ‘Towards perpetual peace’, in M.J. Gregor (ed.), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 311–352.Google Scholar
Kant, I. (1797a), ‘The metaphysics of morals’, in M.J. Gregor (ed.), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 353–604.Google Scholar
Kant, I. (1797b), ‘On a supposed right to lie from philanthropy’, in trans. M.J. Gregor and A. Wood (eds), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kant, I.Infield, Louis trans. (1963), Lectures on Ethics, New York and Evanston: Harper & Row, Publishers, p.157.Google Scholar
Kavka, G.S. (1978), ‘Some paradoxes of deterrence’, Journal of Philosophy 75(6): 285302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kavka, G.S. (1983), ‘Doubts about unilateral disarmament’, Philosophy and Public Affairs 12(3): 255260.Google Scholar
Kavka, G.S. (1986), Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory, Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press. pp. 349–358.Google Scholar
Korsgaard, C. (1996), Creating the Kingdom of Ends, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lebow, R.N. (2003), The Tragic View of Politics: Ethics, Interests and Orders, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, S.P. (1985), ‘The morality of nuclear deterrence: hostage holding and consequences’, Ethics 95(4): 549566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McMahan, J. (1985), ‘Deterrence and deontology’, Ethics 95(3): 517536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nasr, V. (2007), The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future. With a New Afterword, New York, USA: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
Nell, O. (1975), Acting on Principle: An Essay on Kantian Ethics, New York, USA: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Nye, J.S. (1986), Nuclear Ethics, New York, USA: The Free Press.Google Scholar
Orend, B. (2000), War and International Justice: a Kantian Perspective, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.Google Scholar
Price, R.M. (1997), The Chemical Weapons Taboo, Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Quester, G. (2006), Nuclear First Strike: Consequences of a Broken Taboo, Baltimore, MD, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Ramsey, R.P. (1962), ‘The case for making “Just War” possible’, in J.C. Bennett (ed.), Nuclear Weapons and the Conflict of Conscience, New York, NY, USA: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
Rawls, J. (1971), A Theory of Justice, rev. edn., Cambridge MA, USA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Rawls, J. (1999), The Law of Peoples, Cambridge MA, USA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Sagan, S.D. (2004), ‘Realist perspectives on ethical norms and weapons of mass destruction’, in S. H. Hashmi and S. P. Lee (eds), Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Secular and Religious Perspectives, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sanger, D.E. (2009), ‘Iran threatens to back out in fuel deal’, New York Times, 20 October, A6.Google Scholar
Schapiro, T. (2003), ‘Compliance, complicity, and the nature of nonideal conditions’, The Journal of Philosophy C(7): 329355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Slackman, M. (2009), ‘Iran will not ship Uranium abroad, foreign minister says’, New York Times. 19 November, A14.Google Scholar
Smith, D.D. (2006), Deterring America: Rogue States and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Cambridge, UK, USA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swift, A. (2007), ‘The value of philosophy in non-ideal circumstances’. Seminar in Political Theory. University College London, 14 November. Retreived 26 March 2009 from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/seminars/ptGoogle Scholar
Tertrais, B. (2003), ‘The New Dynamics of Nuclear Proliferation’, CEPS/IISS European Security Forum. Brussels, 3 March 2003.Google Scholar
Tucker, R.W. (1985), ‘Morality and deterrence’, Ethics 95(3): 461478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walzer, M. [1977] (2000), Just and Unjust Wars: a Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations, 3rd edn., New York, USA: Basic.Google Scholar
Way, C. (2007), ‘Understanding nuclear weapons proliferation’. Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation: Public Policy and Nuclear Threats. University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 17 July 2007 from http://igcc.ucsd.edu/PPNT.phpGoogle Scholar
Wendt, A. (1999), Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 283–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Williams, M.C. (2005), The Realist Tradition and the Limits of International Relations, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
4
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Kantian nonideal theory and nuclear proliferation
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Kantian nonideal theory and nuclear proliferation
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Kantian nonideal theory and nuclear proliferation
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *