Lethal autonomous weapon systems and the violation of human dignity.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Portsmouth
Department Name: Sch of Area Stud, Hist, Politics & Lit


This study aims to understand the manner in which dignity is represented in philosophical debate and
military ideology across history, and how these historical representations are used in modern ethical
debates surrounding lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), with the intention of providing future
ethical debate on technological innovation with a basis of reasoning. This will be achieved by exploring
historical representations of dignity in philosophical thought and how those representations compare
with modern international human rights laws. This research will also examine the successive iterations of
international humanitarian laws (IHL) and how they have evolved to address issues presented in case
studies of sexual violence on the Eastern Front in World War Two and in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Finally, past and present instances of the implementation of historical context in ethical debate of
technological innovation in contrast with modern military ideology regarding the use of technology will
be analysed with the intention of generating a precedent for current debate on LAWS and establishing a
foundation for future debates and research in this field.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000673/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2607638 Studentship ES/P000673/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Rozene Smith