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Michael Skerker
United States Naval Academy
  1.  47
    Autonomous Weapons Systems and the Moral Equality of Combatants.Michael Skerker, Duncan Purves & Ryan Jenkins - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 3 (6).
    To many, the idea of autonomous weapons systems (AWS) killing human beings is grotesque. Yet critics have had difficulty explaining why it should make a significant moral difference if a human combatant is killed by an AWS as opposed to being killed by a human combatant. The purpose of this paper is to explore the roots of various deontological concerns with AWS and to consider whether these concerns are distinct from any concerns that also apply to long- distance, human-guided weaponry. (...)
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  2. Seeking a Variable Standard of Individual Moral Responsibility in Organizations.Michael Skerker - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):209-222.
    Relatively few authors attempt to assess individuals’ moral responsibility for collective action within organizations. I draw on fairly technical recent work by Seamus Miller, Christopher Kutz, and Tracy Isaacs in the field of collective responsibility to see what normative lessons can be prepared for people considering entry into large hierarchical, compartmentalized organizations like businesses or the military. I will defend a view shared by Isaacs that group members’ responsibility for collective action depends on intentions to contribute to particular collective actions, (...)
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  3.  28
    What Can Be Asked of Interrogators?”.Michael Skerker - 2020 - In Interrogation and Torture: Efficacy, Morality, and Law. Oxford, UK:
    The article assesses different models of professional ethics and develops a model which sees professional imperatives as the institutionally-guided expression of foundational moral principles. This article uses the model to assess the moral pressures placed on interrogators in undercover operations in which a detective poses as a suspect in pre-arraignment holding. While highly effective, the level of empathetic rapport required risks incurring compassion fatigue and burn out on the part of detectives.
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  4.  27
    Individual Responsibility for Collective Actions.Michael Skerker - 2020 - In Saba Bazargan Forward & Deborah Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Collective Responsibility.
    This chapter will develop standards for assessing individual moral responsibility for collective action. In some cases, these standards expand a person’s responsibility beyond what she or he would be responsible for if performing the same physical behavior outside of a group setting. I will argue that structural differences between two ideal types of groups— organizations and goal- oriented collectives— largely determine the baseline moral responsibility of group members for the group’s collective action. (Group members can be more or less responsible (...)
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  5.  14
    A Two Level Account of Executive Authority.Michael Skerker - 2019 - In Michael Skerker & Claire Finkelstein (eds.), Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority. Oxford, UK:
    The suite of secretive national security programs initiated in the US since 9/11 has created debate not only about the merits of targeted killing, torture, secret detention, cyberwar, global signals intercepts, and data-mining, but about the very secrecy in which these programs were conceived, debated by government officials, and implemented. Law must be revealed to those who are expected to comply with its demands. Law is a mere pretext for coercion if the laws permitting the government to coerce people for (...)
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  6.  9
    Compassion for Enemies.Michael Skerker & John Sattler - 2019 - In David Whetham, Michael Skerker & Donald Carrick (eds.), Military Virtues. London, UK:
    A case study exploring the importance of compassion for enemies appealing to a series of targeting decisions, co-written with the senior Marine in Iraq in 2003-4.
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  7.  13
    Jesus and Mars: The Christian Just War Tradition.Michael Skerker - 2008 - In David Linnan (ed.), Enemy Combatants, Terrorism, and Armed Conflict Law.
    A brief overview of the Christian just war tradition, with case studies.
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  8.  6
    Cannibals, Gun-Deckers, and Good Idea Fairies: Structural Incentives to Deceive in the Military.Michael Skerker - 2019 - In Michael Skerker, David Whetham & Donald Carrick (eds.), Military Virtues. London, UK:
    Case studies about institutional pressures encouraging dishonesty in the US Navy.
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  9.  11
    Moral Implications of Data-Mining, Key-Word Searches, and Targeted Electronic Surveillance.Michael Skerker - 2015 - In Bradley J. Strawser, Fritz Allhoff & Adam Henschke (eds.), Binary Bullets. Oxford, UK:
    This chapter addresses the morality of two types of national security electronic surveillance (SIGINT) programs: the analysis of communication “metadata” and dragnet searches for keywords in electronic communication. The chapter develops a standard for assessing coercive government action based on respect for the autonomy of inhabitants of liberal states and argues that both types of SIGINT can potentially meet this standard. That said, the collection of metadata creates opportunities for abuse of power, and so judgments about the trustworthiness and competence (...)
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  10.  11
    Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach and Religion.Michael Skerker - 2004 - Journal of Religion 84 (3):379-409.
    An assessment of Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach with respect to religion. I contend that her contribution to John Rawls's project of political-liberalism would be less accommodating of religion, specifically illiberal religions, than it desires to be. This feature weakens the capabilities approach as a foundation for inclusive and stable political institutions in pluralistic societies.
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  11.  9
    Intelligence Ethics and Non-Coercive Interrogation.Michael Skerker - 2007 - Defense Intelligence Journal 16 (1):61-76.
    This paper will address the moral implications of non-coercive interrogations in intelligence contexts. U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals define non-coercive interrogation as interrogation which avoids the use of physical pressure, relying instead on oral gambits. These methods, including some that involve deceit and emotional manipulation, would be mostly familiar to viewers of TV police dramas. As I see it, there are two questions that need be answered relevant to this subject. First, under what circumstances, if any, may a state (...)
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  12.  9
    The Rights of Irregular Combatants.Michael Skerker - 2007 - International Journal of Intelligence Ethics 16 (1).
    This article discusses the rights enjoyed by irregular combatants in detention, that is, members of organized groups (who may be fighting an insurgency or engaging in terror attacks) who fail to qualify for POW status. The paradigmatic example of such a detainee would be an al-Qaeda agent.
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