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What should be the role of scientists in wars to come?

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PurposeThe paper seeks to explore the relationship between the state and scientists, specifically regarding the ethical and moral issues of research and development of weapons and military technology. Design/methodology/approachUsing a methodology of experiential reasoning, the author provides numerous examples of the quandary in which modern research finds itself and asks "What choice is the scientist or engineer to make?" FindingsThe author's perspective on the past and present symbiosis between science and the military shows, however, the future complexity and subtlety of this relationship. It is one that could have a direct bearing on the future of the human race. Originality/valueFor three generations the spectre of nuclear war has been a received idea of such awesome dimensions as to occlude other, perhaps more imminent, menaces. The paper highlights those threats and provides a positive guide for policy makers.
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Keywords: Ethics; Sciences; Terrorism; War

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2005

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