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    Theorizing ballistics: ethics, emotions, and weapon-scientists

    Bourke, Joanna (2017) Theorizing ballistics: ethics, emotions, and weapon-scientists. History and Theory 56 (4), pp. 135-151. ISSN 0018-2656.

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    What is violence? This article explores conceptions of violence from the perspective of scientists engaged in weapons’ research. Ballistic scientists are routinely excluded from the “violent” label on grounds of class, status, education, and emotional comportment. The article analyses the science of ballistics through the lens of ethics and emotions. How do scientists justify experiments in ballistics, or the science of designing weapons and other technologies aimed at destroying environments and inflicting wounds (often fatal) and other forms of injury on people and non-human animals? In stark contrast to those who analyse weapons development as an objective science and who impart violent agency to autonomous technologies, I situate wound ballistics as a branch of applied moral philosophy. Its practice always involves an “ought”. Although the central job of ballistic scientists is the “effective production of wounds”, this is not regarded as violent, except by their victims of course. In part, this lacunae is due to an ideological relationship forged between “violence” and particular emotional states. It is also part of a political project defining “the human”.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): violence, ballistic science, scientists, war, weapons, emotions, ethics, human, humanity
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2017 15:28
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 12:49


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