Uncharacteristically, Richard Sylvan entirely relaxed his non-anthropocentric ethical commitments in order to develop a broadly anti-nuclear weapons position in strictly human-centred terms since he deemed this evidence sufficient for the purposes of the moral argument (see Richard Routley 1984a, 1984b, 1990). That is to say, for Sylvan the immorality of nuclear weapons and war was quite easily established without the need for more elaborate and unfashionable non-anthropocentric arguments. Pre-empting the criticism that doing so befalls to philosophical inconsistency, Sylvan was of the view that the anthropocentric position was sufficient for the purposes of the moral argument.

On the theme of the militaristic application of nuclear technology, Sylvan sole-authored only a handful of papers, mostly self-published in his dsicussion papers series at the Australian National University.