John Forge's Webpage

What is all this about?

Be nice to have some feedback, via email. I've never had any, not one email, though I assume the material here is of some use. Why not be the first to give me some feedback??

John Forge is a philosopher - in other words, since it's me writing this, I am a philosopher -  now retired, who was educated in England and the United States, and who taught in Australia. My work has been mostly concerned with science. Most recenly, this has centred on moral and political issues, to do for instance with the moral responsibilities of scientists.


I firmly believe that scientists should not do any research that has anything to do with harming, either directly in the research process or as an outcome thereof. Most especially, I think that scientists should not undertake any research that provides the basis for weapons development or innovation. One important motivation for my setting up this website is to make my reasons for making this claim available to anyone who wants to know about them. One of the main pages on this site is dedicated to this question, and it draws on my published (in books and academic papers) work.


Another motivation for setting up the site is to make some general observations about morality. This is the topic of another of the main pages. If anyone wonders why the title is "Morality Matters" and not something like "Ethics Matters", in other words if any one wonders what the difference is between ethics and morality, that is one of the things I will explain. I used to be confused about morality, in the sense that it seemed to me hard, or impossible, to chose between different (incompatible) moral theories. Now I have found a moral system that I can accept, and the general observations made here are all based on that system (which I will explain). In this way I should like to provide a basis that others can use to make moral judgements and decide whether or not there has been moral wrongdoing in various situations.


This site will, I expect, change and evolve. It will be most text, and not many pictures, videos and so forth. But it is intended for everyone and I hope it will do some good. Please let me know what you think. At the moment I am using numerals to label the units or modules (anyone know a better way?), together with the date, so I can refer to them and cross reference. The numerals signify simply the order in which the units have been added to the page. I also include, or have, a blog. and here my intention is to comment on matters that are of public concern. Please click on "Home" to see these pages.


Last but not least, please do not represent any of the matters written here as your own; it is not, it is mine. By all means quote what you like, but please acknowledge their author!


There are a number of my papers available on Research Gate. Here is the link: -.


July 2017 6 new Science and Ethics lectures added: one on ethical theory, three on environmental ethics and two on animal ethics.

December 2017 A new book, The Morality of Weapons Design and Development, published by IGI Global (!) is now published. It has the same conclusion as my (longer and more technical) book Designed to Kill: The Case Against Weapons Research, but the argument is presented in a different way. Here is the link:  Which does not seem to work, sorry you will need to copy and paste it. Unfortunately, some of the formatting changes which I made at the proofing stage were not reproduced in the hard copy, which does not make me happy, but I am hoping that the press will update the ebook.

January 2018 I have removed the page which has/had my forthcoming paper on weapons research which has attracted a number of visitors lately as it has now been published. If you would like a copy of the paper please email me and I will send it to you.

April 2018. I have added a pdf copy of the powerpoint presentation I gave to the School of History and Philosophy of Science at Sydney university yesterday on autonomous weapons and responsibility gaps, which you are welcome to download

May 2018. Paper added - Closing the gaps...- This has been submitted for publication and will be taken down if/when accepted.

June 2018. Added The Harm Principle, in the section on Morality

May 2018. Please please give me some feedback, via email, if you like the stuff on here and find it useful. No one gives me any feedback!!

June 2018 S'il vous plaît laissez-moi savoir ce que vous pensez de mon travail par email.


March 2019. New book from SpringerBriefs in Applied Ethics - The Morality of Weapons Research has been published. Buy a copy all of you!! Or better still, review a copy!!!



December 2019: Climate change blog



I am deeply pessimistic (or realistic) about climate change. I believe that climate change will have disastrous effects this century, such as the destruction of habitats for both humans and animals due to rises in average global temperatures. I think it is still possible to reduce or mitigate the worse effects of climate change, in particular by reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases. The rational consensus is that climate change is caused by increased emissions of greenhouse gases, so if it can be mitigated one assumes that reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be the trick. I am pessimistic about climate change because I don’t think that this will be done, and my aim in this series of blog posts is to say why I do not believe any such measures will be taken. The following posts are available:


1. Prelude: A Taxonomy of Climate Change Skeptics.


2. What is Climate Change?


(Note 2. appears after 3 and 4, as I posted it later and the blog orders post by date.)


3. The Greenhouse Effect.


4. The Greenhouse Effect: in more detail.


5. Climate Change Skepticism and the Denial of Science. 


6. Justifying the Export of Fossil Fuel?


January 2021 New blog post about Covid vaccine.


In view of the unprecedented - every time anyone uses that word I shudder, so I use it to get your attention - year we've had fighting the pandemic, it seems that my concerns with climate change seem less pressing. I hope to write more about Covid this year, specifically about Covid and various dimensions of responsibility. I hope someone is out there reading this.


February 2021 New Blog Post on Free Speech


I argue that speech is a species of action, and as such it is subject  to the same moral constraints as 'ordinary' action.


May 2021


Very shortly I shall start to post (blog) some topics in relation to responsibility and vaccination - as foreshadowed about -  in particular I want to consider the question:


Do we have a responsibility to have the/a Covid vaccine? and if so, what kind of responsibility is this? For instance, is it a moral responsibility or a social responsibility, or perhaps both?


July 2021 The following are available


1. The Covid Pandemic


2.Why Vaccination is the Only Option


3. Common Morality (note: there is fair bit about common morality on this website, but this is a concise summary).


4. Moral Responsibility 1.


5. Moral Responsibility 2.


6. Responsibility for Vaccination 1: Moral Responsibility