The Virtuous Drone Pilot
This thesis responds to two distinct claims about drone (or remotely piloted aircraft) pilots. The first is the general claim that the martial virtues function as a kind of role morality for soldiers; the second, that drone pilots, based on the absence of personal risk and their distance from the battlefield, are unable to meet the demands of such a role morality. Chapter One explains what is meant by role morality, and determines whether the martial virtues do in fact function in a role morality capacity. The second chapter applies this general conception of a role morality for soldiers to military drone pilots in particular. This investigation finds that, insofar as "soldier" is in fact a role that generates a role morality, military drone pilots are as capable of meeting the demands of such a role morality as other military members. The second half of the thesis challenges the premise that drone pilots do not face personal risk. Chapter Three identifies psychological risk among drone pilots and seeks to determine how this kind of non-physical risk may affect the cultivation of the martial virtues. The fourth chapter argues that by placing military drone pilots within domestic territory, drone-capable militaries (such as the US military) have redrawn the battlespace such that it includes the drone operators, wherever they may be, and that as a result, drone pilots do in fact face some physical risk. Finally, in closing, this thesis presents a positive account of the martial virtues that enables military ethicists and strategists to bring centuries of philosophical investigation to bear on contemporary military issues.