Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Philosophy

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 43 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Lisa Fuller


Combatant, Drone, Ethics, Just War Theory, Strawser, UAV, Drone aircraft, Air warfare, Military robots, Military ethics

Subject Categories

Ethics and Political Philosophy | Philosophy


The frequency of use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for combat by the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. Since this technology has comprised a significant portion of American counter-terror operations abroad and there are virtually no signs of this practice slowing or ceasing in the foreseeable future, it is necessary to closely examine the ethical implications of remote-control warfare. At first glance, arguments supporting the use of "drones" seem robust and sensible: in theory, they save American military lives. But upon further investigation, the use of drones in practice actually creates morally murky, problematic situations that could lead to great transgression of the laws of a just war. I argue that for all its apparent benefits, drone use thrusts modern warfare at large into an ethically unprecedented arena of vast asymmetry between opposing forces and what this means for the authorized use of force in wartime.