Unthinkable and Tragic: The psychology of weapons taboos


Assistant Professor Tom Dolan’s article, “Unthinkable and Tragic: The Psychology of Weapons Taboos” has been published in a highly-ranked journal in the field of international relations, International Organization.

In the article, Dr. Dolan examines arguments that psychological resistance to using morally problematic weapons like nuclear bombs or poison gas prevents leaders from using them. He finds that while this can be the case, the emotional resistance to using them does not exist when failing to use them would involve breaking other moral or ethical rules. An analysis of General George Marshall’s advocacy of using chemical weapons against Japanese forces in 1945 to limit American casualties illustrates the argument.

Read the article here.

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