Game of Drones

theory_of_the_drone_finalJean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer writes to say that his review of Grégoire Chamayou‘s Théorie du drone has just appeared in English translation over at Books & Ideas here.

It’s a combative review, literally so:

When Chamayou was asked what motivated him to write the book, he replied that “some philosophers in the United States and in Israel work hand in hand with the military to elaborate what I call a ‘necro-ethics’ that tries to justify targeted assassinations. So it is urgent to respond. When ethics is brought into a war, philosophy becomes a battlefield.” 

A bit like Plato looking upon his Socratic dialogues as the philosopher’s responses to the sophists – i.e. to false philosophers – Chamayou presents his Theory of the Drone as a response to the traitorous philosophers who collaborate with the military. I am myself one of this low species: I teach ethics and the law of war to officer students at the French Military Academy of Saint-Cyr, and I often work with the military (without however being “enlisted” to justify anything whatsoever). Therefore I can testify that, when you take an interest in military matters, it is helpful to work with them, to increase your precision and to avoid some clichés and factual errors.

I provided some background to Vilmer’s work and discussed his critique here.

An excellent English translation of Theory of the Drone is due from the New Press in December.

While I’m on the subject of translations, French versions of my ‘Drone geographies’ from Radical Philosophy (DOWNLOADS tab) are now available as ‘Géographes du drone’ in Jef Klak: critique sociale et experiences littéraires 1 (2014) 262-277 and in Décadrages: Cinéma, à travers champs 26-27 (2014) 129-150.