Monday, August 10, 2015

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Our Souls

By Craig Hovey

Seventy years ago, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, ending World War II. Now, after decades of nuclear weapons buildup across the globe and some disarmament following the end of the cold war, there are questions about whether and how Iran’s nuclear plans can be kept reliably peaceful and how Japan’s pacifist constitution can be maintained. Nine nations currently have nuclear weapons.

Urakami Cathedral following the Nagasaki bombing Courtesy of
Aristotle taught that we do not simply act based on decisions that we make; our characters and dispositions are formed by what we do and in turn inspire our further actions. This works for both virtues and vices: good actions can make a good person; bad actions can make a bad person. And while most ethicists categorically condemn the US bombing of Japan, it is less common to ask what kind of societal soul both produces and is produced by it.