David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in Philosophy 40 (2):11-31 (2008)
This paper analyzes "ticking time bomb" scenarios in the discursive legitimation of torture and other coercive interrogation techniques. Judith Butler proposes a Foucauldian framework to suggest that Adminstration policies can be read as the irruption of sovereignty within governmentality. Rereading Foucault, I suggest that the policies could equally be understood as an exercise of governmentality, i.e., the subordination of juridical law to economy. I then propose as a reconciliation of these readings that time bomb scenarios serve rhetorically to make the exercise of arbitrary power Butler identifies appear as an exercise of governmentality; sanitized of complications, coercive interrogation appears efficient.
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