From the ethics of Drones to ‘Everyday Peace’

The fourth post looking back at the Politics and Applied Global Ethics Festival 2013.  In this post Dr Rachel Julian, Lecturer in peace and conflict resolution offers a brief reflection on events on ‘Everyday Peace’ and the ethics of drone warfare.

Dr Rachel Julian (PAGE)

Dr Rachel Julian (PAGE)

I thought that the guest speakers brought interesting and challenging idea’s to PAGE last week. I was particularly struck by the interdisciplinary nature of many of the talks, which reflect the focus of PAGE.

Roger MacGinty introduced his idea of the ‘Everyday Peace’ which links our ideas and knowledge about how we build long term sustainable peace and prevent violence, with international relations, political systems, and community development. He controversially suggests that at times, the best we can hope for is greater tolerance and less violence rather than a transformative peace.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
By U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. James Ridgway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The debate about the Ethical use of Drones was stimulating because the speakers explained what drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are used for and how they work and why their accuracy might mean they are more ethical, but how they might be less ethical if it might make the use of violence or going to war more likely. In particular, Dr Peter Lee showed where drones might be used in the spectrum between positive peace and thermonuclear war, and Prof. Noel Sharkey talked about the risks of ‘autonomous weapons’. That is weapons which are fired without human involvement. The debate crossed peace, security, ethics and international relations…I think it’s clear that if we want to examine global challenges then we need to be looking from many perspectives!


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