Nuclear Weapons and Warfare: The Ethical Dilemma with Manufacturing Weapons for our Safety and the End of Another’s Life (by Catie Goodell)

[ By on May 15, 2017 ]

For my tenth grade term paper, I researched the reasons that lead the United States to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Some of the reasons I came upon were that Japan was being too harsh to their prisoners of war and that American lives were greatly affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor. I think that it has to do with the idea of suffering that we discussed at many points throughout this unit. In the animal rights unit, we looked at the development of nervous systems and the development of consciousness of animals, in comparison to humans, to interpret if they totally understood what was happening to them or if they were feeling any pain. We also considered this idea of suffering in the abortion unit to see how far along in the pregnancy would a baby be able to feel the pain of the abortion. In this case, though, we are dealing with humans from both the Japanese and American side with fully intact nervous systems in place, so we would have to consider who suffered more. I am not exactly sure how to measure suffering, especially because it would be hard to contact everyone affected by World War II, but I think that if you compare the situations of both countries an idea of the suffering could be created. If we go by the Code of Hammurabi, a list of rules where the famous phrase “an eye for eye” originates, it would be okay for us to drop the bomb as long as their suffering cancelled out and was equivalent to ours. Again, this measure would be hard to acquire.

I think an interesting topic of discussion could also be is death worse than suffering. In the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dropping of bombs resulted in immediate death and without suffering. While the prisoners of war were tortured, starved, and humiliated for months or sometimes years. So, is death actually worse than suffering?

As we start to move into an era where atomic bombs and uranium bombs become more and more a possibility and not science fiction, when is it okay to use them?

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3 Comments on “Nuclear Weapons and Warfare: The Ethical Dilemma with Manufacturing Weapons for our Safety and the End of Another’s Life (by Catie Goodell)”

  1. KNF

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm ]

    A wonderfully complex issue to explore. I appreciate how you’ve brought in idea s from other units to inform your thinking. The article where we examined how we know whether animals feel pain might be an interesting one to revisit.

  2. KNF

    “In the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dropping of bombs resulted in immediate death and without suffering.”

    Your arguments are interesting. Be careful with making assumptions about the low degree of suffering caused by those bombs when illustrating your points. See attached link.

  3. KNF

Hi Stranger, reply with your thoughts:

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