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Playlist: Warriors and Warfare

Compiled By: Philosophy Talk

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The Military: What Is It Good For?

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 54:00

Is the "citizen soldier" an outmoded concept of a bygone era?


Is the military draft a natural expression of democratic values, or a challenge to our most basic concepts of individual rights and liberties?  Are the values that make for an effective military consistent with the values that make for a free and democratic republic? If the government must have the power to defend the nation, does it follow that it must have the power to control events around the entire world?  John and Ken enlist themselves in a discussion of the military and its role in public life with Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Kennedy, author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.

The Ethics of Drone Warfare

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

Are drones the herald of a more sanitized and efficient form of war, or do they represent the dystopian reign of uncaring technologies?


The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, aka ‘drone,’ is increasingly the weapon of choice in America's military operations. Many laud its ability to maintain our global power while reducing human and financial costs. By the same token, however, this safe and secretive weapon may in turn cause civilians to disengage ever more from the politics of war. What are the responsibilities of civilians in the face of this 'Revolution in Military Affairs'? And how have drones transformed the face of battles for soldiers themselves? John and Ken ask about war in the age of intelligent machines with Bradley Strawser from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, editor of Killing By Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military.

War, Sacrifice, and the Media

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

Does fighting a war require an enemy to demonize?


The media often present a sanitized and one sided narrative of war, torture and other forms of violence that blots out the faces and silences the voices of many of the main victims: the refugees, the victims of unjust imprisonment and torture, and the immigrants virtually enslaved by their starvation and legal disenfranchisement.  John and Ken probe the limits of the media representations of war and other forms of violence with renowned UC Berkeley professor Judith Butler, author of Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

The Doomsday Doctrine

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:58

How do we justify keeping so many nuclear weapons – and continually threatening to use them?

71_zcofeu0l_small The doctrine of mutually assured destruction is supposed to deter both sides in a war from launching the first nuclear strike. However, the strategy of the US, NATO, and other super powers has been to plan the destruction of nearly all life on Earth. If near total annihilation would be monstrous, ethically speaking, then what should we say about preparing for and planning it? Can there be any moral justification for plausibly threatening a nuclear holocaust? And now that we’ve gotten ourselves in this situation, is there any realistic and ethical way out? John and Ken avoid going nuclear with writer, activist, former defense analyst and whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.