Ticking Bombs and Interrogations

Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (1):1-15 (2008)
Abstract
Torture is like slavery (and unlike murder and genocide) in that it is not inconceivable that torture might be justifiable. But the circumstances that would make it tolerable are unrealistic in philosophically interesting ways. It is unrealistic to think we can predict when torture will be effective and containable; unwarranted to suppose that humane alternatives are impossible; disastrous to remove motivations to create alternatives; unacceptable to be satisfied with available evidence regarding suspects’ identity, knowledge of critical detail, ability to recall it, or reasons for not providing it. Most importantly, the costs of even successful interrogational torture would negate the gains sought. Or so this essay argues
Keywords Torture  Pain  Stress  Excuses  Mitigation  Mercy  Self-defense  Water boarding
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