Regulating weapons: an Aristotelian account

Anthony F Lang Jr.*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regulating war has long been a concern of the international community. From the Hague Conventions to the Geneva Conventions and the multiple treaties and related institutions that have emerged in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, efforts to mitigate the horrors of war have focused on regulating weapons, defining combatants, and ensuring access to the battlefield for humanitarians. But regulation and legal codes alone cannot be the end point of an engaged ethical response to new weapons developments. This short essay reviews some of the existing ethical works on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), highlighting how rule- and consequence-based accounts fail to provide adequate guidance for how to deal with them. I propose a virtue-based account, which I link up with an Aristotelian framework, for how the international community might better address these weapons systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalEthics and International Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • LAWS
  • Lethal autonomous weapon systems
  • Virtue ethics
  • Aristotle
  • Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons


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