Category Archives: Research

Law and war in outer space

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Iredell Law Conference at Lancaster University to present a paper, ‘Beyond the horizon: law, exception and conflict in outer space’. In my paper, I spoke about law and warfare in outer space, and what I see as a fundamental problem in the operation of law, and the exercise of sovereignty in outer space.

After my presentation one of the delegates posed the question, well what about Antarctica and colonies at the bottom of the sea? According to current practice, international law does apply in both of these situations, so doesn’t that set a precedent for law on the Moon?

My response to this question was very definitely a ‘no’, however I didn’t have time to expand on my argument. In this blog, I hope to discuss some of the issues surrounding law and sovereignty in outer space, and the problem of just how you impose sovereign rule on a colony that could advance many decades in the time it takes for a message to reach it… Continue reading »

Is killing the ultimate form of control?

I recently had an enjoyable day at Lancaster House, chatting to members of the TTAC21 reading group on subjects including drone theory, armed conflict, the Prevent strategy, and the International Court of Human Rights.

As most of the participants were drawn from law departments, it was interesting as a relative ‘outsider’ to get a view on how those in the law discipline view issues such as life, death and sovereign power. One particularly interesting question that cropped up was ‘Is killing the ultimate form of control?’

Unfortunately we didn’t really have time to explore the question during the course of the day, so I thought it useful to gather a few thoughts here to open up some discussion…  Continue reading »

Dangerous dogs – animals condemned from birth

Following on from my last blog on humans, animals and the language of life and death, I thought I’d expand a little on the issues surrounding dangerous dogs, and that most outcast of all animals, the banned dangerous dog.

According to the UK government website, it is against the law to own certain types of dog. These are:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasiliero

It’s also against the law to:

  • Sell a banned dog
  • Abandon a banned dog
  • Give away a banned dog
  • Breed from a banned dog

If you are in possession of a banned dog, either knowingly or unknowingly, there is very little you can do. You cannot keep it, you cannot get rid of it – indeed the dog is condemned to death from its very birth. To explore the unique position held by the banned dangerous dog, we can conduct a simple thought experiment Continue reading »

Humans, Animals, and the Language of Life and Death

The language with which we refer to ourselves as human beings, relative to our ‘animal’ cousins is something that’s always fascinated me. I have always been interested in nature, and my sister, Kate, is soon to graduate as a vet, making these issues resonate all the more as I compare my own studies in philosophy with the world of animal science. Continue reading »