Book at Lunchtime: Spying Through a Glass Darkly

Background is colourful old book spines. On the left is a white circle containing the words Book at Lunchtime. On the right is the cover of Spying Through a Glass Darkly

Register here.

Join us for a TORCH Book at Lunchtime on Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence by Professor Cécile Fabre (Philosophy).

Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all.

About the book:

Espionage and counter-intelligence activities, both real and imagined, weave a complex and alluring story. Yet there is hardly any serious philosophical work on the subject. Cécile Fabre presents a systematic account of the ethics of espionage and counterintelligence. She argues that such operations, in the context of war and foreign policy, are morally justified as a means, but only as a means, to protect oneself and third parties from ongoing violations of fundamental rights. In doing so, she addresses a range of ethical questions: are intelligence officers morally permitted to bribe, deceive, blackmail, and manipulate as a way to uncover state secrets? Is cyberespionage morally permissible? Are governments morally permitted to resort to the mass surveillance of their and foreign populations as a means to unearth possible threats against national security? Can treason ever be morally permissible? Can it ever be legitimate to resort to economic espionage in the name of national security? The book offers answers to those questions through a blend of philosophical arguments and historical examples.


Professor Cécile Fabre (Philosophy)

Dr Elad Uzan (Philosophy)

Brianna Rosen (Blavatnik School of Government)