Oxford University Press (2008)

This book addresses a dilemma at the heart of counter-terrorism: Is it ever justifiable to torture terrorists when innocent lives are at stake? The book analyses the moral arguments and presents a passionate defence of prohibition. It also examines current State practice and the models of legalising torture suggested in Israel and the US.
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ISBN(s) 9780199571239   9780199540914   0199571236
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Chapters BETA
Part I—Introduction

This chapter introduces the methodology and structure of Part I, which addresses the question of whether it is morally justifiable for an individual to torture a terrorist when it is the only way to obtain information that would save many innocent lives. This scenario — the ticking bomb si... see more

The Wider Moral Issue: Do Consequences or ‘No Go Areas’ Determine What is Ethical in an Extreme Situation?

This chapter addresses the wider issue that a moral agent facing a ticking bomb situation (TBS) should consider: whether ultimately a decision to torture the terrorist or not should be determined by consequences or by absolute moral prohibitions. First, the consequences of not torturing in... see more

Consequentialist Argument for Torturing in a Ticking Bomb Situation

This chapter details the consequentialist arguments for torturing the terrorist in a ticking bomb situation. Consequentialist/utilitarians argue that a moral cost-benefit analysis needs to be made, pitting the suffering of the one terrorist under torture against the suffering of so many in... see more

The Minimal Absolutist Approach I: Anti-absolutism as Morally Untenable

This chapter outlines the author's minimal absolutist view, a ‘bare-boned’ moral view that certain acts must be prohibited absolutely, i.e., must never be performed, whatever the consequences. Reviewing questionable candidate acts for such prohibition, including lying and killing, and expl... see more

The Minimal Absolutist Approach II: Arguments for an Absolute Prohibition on Torture

This chapter provides arguments for a minimal absolutist prohibition on torture. Logically, once anti-absolutism is rejected, torture must be prohibited absolutely, as it contains the worst acts one person can possibly inflict on another. Some examples are used to illustrate the depth of i... see more

Part I—Conclusions

This chapter concludes the discussion of the ticking bomb question as a one of pure individual morality. For the purpose of defending an absolute prohibition on torture a minimal absolutist position, rather than a wider moral theory, is sufficient. The overwhelming strength of the ‘numbers... see more

Part II—Introduction

This chapter introduces Part II, examining the ticking bomb question as one of public, practical, morality in the real world, namely whether it is morally justifiable for democratic states facing terrorism to torture in order to save many innocent lives. It outlines the parameters for disc... see more

Is there a ‘Public Morality’ that is Distinct from ‘Private Morality’?

This chapter considers whether there is, in extreme situations, a ‘public morality’ that is distinct from ‘private morality’ and its implications on the ‘ticking bomb’ debate, including a discussion of the ‘dirty hands’ dilemma. Theorists have argued that there are differences between acti... see more

‘Slippery Slope’ and Other Dangers

This chapter examines ‘slippery slope’ and other dangers of states resorting to torturing terrorists in ticking bomb situations. First, general consequentialist reasons are cited supporting an absolute prohibition on torture in the real world, because of the extent of harm that would resul... see more

Part II—Conclusions

This chapter concludes the discussion of the ticking bomb question as one of public, practical morality. Introducing torture into the interrogation rooms of modern democracies is fraught with dangers of torture expanding beyond the confines of a ticking bomb situation (TBS), in particular ... see more

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Citations of this work BETA

Evidence Gained From Torture: Wishful Thinking, Checkability, and Extreme Circumstances.James Franklin - 2009 - Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law 17:281-290.

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