Antipodean Nuclear Philosophy

When inaugurating the subfield of Environmental Philosophy in 1973, Richard Routley located the seed of Western anthropocentrism in the liberal harm principle. Yet, beginning in the late-1990s, Andrew Linklater began globalising the harm principle with no reference to Routley, or to debates in Environmental Philosophy about the moral status of the non-human world. This thesis contends that since nuclear harms and our responses to them are fundamentally ecological, a thoroughgoing reappraisal of Routley and Linklater’s ethics is needed. What emerges is a new, multi-centred, nuclear ethical theory that takes as its subject both humanity and the biosphere. This is because: (1) nuclear harms violate not only the human body but also the global biosphere on which all life depends; (2) nuclear harms occur on spatial and temporal scales that mutually implicate humanity and Earth’s zones of life; and (3) re-imagining nuclear harm prohibitions in ecological terms demonstrates that this new, multi-centred, nuclear ethics is both realistic and realizable.

Key project outputs 

N.A.J. Taylor, Antipodean Nuclear Feminisms. Under contract to Palgrave Macmillan’s Global Outreach programme, to be delivered in December 2019. [Link to book portal]

N.A.J. Taylor, The Problem of Nuclear Harm: An Ethical Ecology. Thesis submitted in December 2017 for the award of a doctorate at the School of Political and International Studies, The University of Queensland. [PDF available on request] [To be revised and expanded as Richard Routley’s Antipodean Nuclear Philosophy]

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘The problem of nuclear harm for Andrew Linklater, Lorraine Elliott, and other contemporary cosmopolitans’, Global Society, Vol.32 Is.1, 2018, 111-126. [PDF]

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Anthropocosmic thinking on the problem of nuclear harm: A reply to Seth D. Clippard, and a plea to Mary Evelyn Tucker and Tu Weiming’, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol.10 No.1, March 2016, pp.58-65. [PDF]

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Explorations in Antipodean Nuclear Thinking: Val Routley/Plumwood and Richard Routley/Sylvan’. Paper presented at The Seed Box: Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and The Posthumanities Hub, Linkoping University, Sweden, September 20, 2015. [PDF available on request]


Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Government, 2011-15 ($85,000)
Australia Awards Endeavour Research Fellowship, Australian Government, 2015 ($25,000)
University of Queensland, 2014-15 ($9,500)