Nuclear philosophy brings tools of  critical analysis to bear on problems of nuclear policy. The goal is to recover space for human agency within the debate about nuclear security by transforming nuclear weapons from the subject into the object of the discourse. As long as nuclear weapons remain the principle subject and agent of a discourse dedicated to prescribing the appropriate human response to their power, we will continue to limit our imagination of the possible and remain blind to the potential for social transformation. Rather than taking a position within the debate, nuclear philosophy is the practice of questioning the norms of the debate itself.

The Authors

Anne I. Harrington is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, where she is currently working on her book manuscript, The Currency of Power. Prior to joining CNS, she held a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. She earned her doctorate from the Department of Political Science at The University of Chicago in 2010. Her award-winning articles have appeared in The Nonproliferation Review, and Millennium: Journal of International Studies.

Matthias Englert is a researcher in the Interdisciplinary Research Group Science Technology and Security (IANUS) at Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany where he also earned his PhD in physics. Before joining IANUS he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 2009-2011. His research interests include nonproliferation, disarmament, arms control, nuclear postures and warheads; fissile material and production technologies; the civil use of nuclear power and its role in future energy scenarios; and the historical, social and political aspects of the use of nuclear technologies.

John Downer is Lecturer in Risk and Resilience in the department of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPIAS) at the University of Bristol, UK. He has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University, where he wrote about the reliability calculations that frame safety-critical technologies and infrastructures. Prior to Joining the faculty at Bristol he was a research fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) at the London School of Economics, and then at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). His current research largely focuses on the knowledge-making, regulation and governance that frame nuclear energy.