Oppenheimer's Choice

Oppenheimer's Choice : Reflections from Moral Philosophy

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In 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer accepted the leadership of the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory, which produced the first atomic bomb three years later. This book examines the ethics of Oppenheimer's choice to take that job and our judgment of his acceptance, leading to the larger question of the meaning of moral judgment itself. Through an analysis of Oppenheimer's choice, Richard Mason explores questions of responsibility, the justification for the pursuit of scientific curiosity, the purity of research, and many other topics of interest in scientific ethics. This unique look at one man's choice brings out the necessary step from personal detail to abstract reflection--it may be easy to praise or condemn Oppenheimer's choice, but less easy to justify our praise or condemnation. Oppenheimer's Choice establishes the possibility of this kind of moral philosophy--neither "applied" nor "practical" ethics, but instead a sustained concentration on a single choice, and what it means.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 193 pages
  • 159.77 x 226.06 x 10.67mm | 263g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791467821
  • 9780791467824
  • 2,353,833

Review quote

"This book presents a telling case, one that is undeniably difficult to 'place' from the standpoint of moral judgment or moral theory. There are many books on Oppenheimer and many, of course, on moral philosophy, but none I know that bring them together. This makes the book unique." -- Ramsey Eric Ramsey, coauthor of Leaving Us to Wonder: An Essay on the Questions Science Can't Ask
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About Richard Mason

Richard Mason (1948-2006) was a Fellow of Wolfson College at Cambridge. He is the author of Understanding Understanding and Before Logic, both also published by SUNY Press, and The God of Spinoza.
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Rating details

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