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Death machines: the ethics of violent technologies

Death machines: the ethics of violent technologies

Schwarz, Elke, 1952- author; Manchester University Press, publisher

"As innovations in military technologies race toward ever-greater levels of automation and autonomy, debates over the ethics of violent technologies tread water. Discussions about whether lethal drones are the most moral and effective tools to combat terrorism, or whether killer robots could kill more ethically than humans, often end up conflating efficiency with morality and legality with ethicality. Such conceptual confusions raise urgent questions about what is at work in the relationship between lethal technologies, their uses and the ethical justifications provided for technologised practices of political violence. What enables the framing of instruments for killing as inherently ethical? What socio-political rationale underpins these processes? And what kind of ethical framework for violence is produced in such a socio-political context? Death Machines reframes current debates on the ethics of technologised practices of violence arguing that the way we conceive of the ethics of contemporary warfare is itself imbued with a set of bio-technological rationalities that work as limits. The task for critical thought must therefore be to unpack, engage and challenge these limits. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt the book offers a close reading of the technology-biopolitics complex that informs and produces contemporary subjectivities, highlighting the perilous implications this has for how we think about the ethics of political violence, both now and in the future" --Back cover

eBook, Hardback, Electronic resource, Article, Book. English.
Published Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2018
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Statement of responsibility: Elke Schwarz
ISBN: 1526114836, 9781526114822, 9781526114839
Intended audience: Scholars and students of political theory, philosophy, security studies and international relations.
Note: Includes index.
Note: Description based on print record.
Language note: In English.
Physical Description: 1 online resource (240 pages) : digital, PDF file(s).
System: Mode of access: internet via World Wide Web.
System: System requirements: Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader (latest version recommended), Internet Explorer or other browser (latest version recommended).
Other Number: 10.7765/9781526114839
Series: Manchester Security, Conflict & Peace
Subject: TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / General.; International relations.; Society & Social Sciences Politics & government International relations.; Military art and science Technological innovations.; Military art and science Technological innovations Moral and ethical aspects.; Society and social sciences 2 bicssc.
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2018. Access may be restricted to users at subscribing institutions.
Other formats: Also available in print form.


  1. Introduction: The conditioned human
  2. 1. Biopolitics and the technological subject
  3. 2. Biopolitical technologies in Arendt and Foucault
  4. 3. Anti-political (post)modernity
  5. 4. Procedural violence
  6. 5. Ethics as technics6. All hail our robot overlords
  7. 7. Prescription drones
  8. Conclusion: For an ethics beyond technics
  9. Index.