Critical Notices/Etudes critiques

Out on a Nuclear Limb*

Douglas P. Lackeya1

a1 Baruch College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Nuclear War, edited by Fox and Groarke, is one of five recent anthologies containing new essays by philosophers on the subject of nuclear war. The Blake and Pole volumes, containing essays mainly by British philosophers, are distinguished by unrelenting and comprehensive opposition to British and American policy, and by the fame of the contributors, which include Anthony Kenny, Michael Dummett, and Bernard Williams. The Chicago volume contains a number of excellent papers by philosophers and the added bonus of nine papers by established specialists in national security issues; it attempts, with partial success, to cover the full range of strategic nuclear options. The Cohen and Lee and the Fox and Groarke volumes consist largely of papers by strategic outsiders far from the centres of political power; the debate in these volumes is not between the principal versions of nuclear deterrence but between nuclear deterrence in any form and some scheme that transcends the present arrangement of mutually deterring superpowers. Of these last two books, Cohen and Lee contains relatively longer and more detailed essays.


* Michael Allen Fox and Leo Groarke, eds., Nuclear War: Philosophical Perspectives (New York: Peter Lang, 1985), pp. xii, 278, $23.00.