The Ticking Time Bomb Case for Torture

Social Philosophy Today 23:201-209 (2007)
I make two arguments in this paper. First, I argue briefly that the ticking time bomb case is unrealistic and as such is liable to mislead us badly on the ground. Second, after conceding that the conditions of the ticking time bomb case might someday be realized, I argue that it may in fact be morally permissible to torture a terrorist in this case on the grounds of self-defense. My reason for making this argument is that rejecting torture in even the ticking time bomb case risks discrediting objections to torture in other, more realistic cases. Yet the principle established by the ticking time bomb case is of extremely limited application. Given the extreme improbability that the conditions of this case could ever be realized, public authorities who sanction torturing someone should have to bear a heavy burden of proof that this decision was justified on the grounds of self-defense
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    J. Jeremy Wisnewski (2008). It's About Time: Defusing the Ticking Bomb Argument. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):103-116.
    Eric M. Rovie (2009). Tortured Knowledge. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (2):315-333.
    Christopher W. Tindale (2005). Tragic Choices. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2):209-222.
    Christopher J. Finlay (2011). Dirty Hands and the Romance of the Ticking Bomb Terrorist: A Humean Account. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (4):421-442.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    28 ( #52,587 of 1,088,396 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    2 ( #42,750 of 1,088,396 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.