A detailed, clear, and comprehensive overview of the current philosophical debate on. The question of when, and under what circumstances, the practice of torture might be justified has received a great deal of attention in the last decade in both academia and in the popular media. Many of these discussions are, however, one-sided with other perspectives either ignored or quickly dismissed with minimal argument. In On the Ethics of Torture, Uwe Steinhoff provides a complete account of the (...) philosophical debate surrounding this highly contentious subject. Steinhoff’s position is that torture is sometimes, under certain narrowly circumscribed conditions, justified, basing his argument on the right to self-defense. His position differs from that of other authors who, using other philosophical justifications, would permit torture under a wider set of conditions. After having given the reader a thorough account of the main arguments for permitting torture under certain circumstances, Steinhoff explains and addresses the many objections that have been raised to employing torture under any circumstances. This is an indispensible work for anyone interested in one of the most controversial subjects of our times. (shrink)
Ethics for Enemies comprises three original philosophical essays on torture, terrorism, and war. F. M. Kamm deploys ethical theory in her challenging new treatments of these most controversial practical issues. First she considers the nature of torture and the various occasions on which it could occur, in order to determine why it might be wrong to torture a wrongdoer held captive, even if this were necessary to save his victims. In the second essay she considers what (...) makes terrorism wrong--whether it is the intention to harm civilians, rather than harm to them being 'collateral damage,' or something else--and whether terrorism is always wrong. The third essay discusses whether having a right reason, in the sense of a right intention, is necessary in order for a war to be just. Kamm then examines ways in which the harms of war can be proportional to the achievement of the just cause and other goods that war can bring about, so as to make the declaration of war permissible. (shrink)
This collection by leading scholars represents state of the art writings on the ethics of war. Many of the most important and contested controversies in modern war receive comprehensive discussion: the practice of torture, terrorism, assassination and targeted killing, the bombing of civilians in war, humanitarian intervention, and the invasion of Iraq Analytical introduction provides a guide to recent developments in the ethics of war An excellent overview for general readers interested in the current debate and controversies (...) over the ethics of war. (shrink)
The so-called Istanbul Protocol, a Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the United Nations soon after its completion in 1999 and since then has become an acknowledged standard for documenting cases of alleged torture and other forms of severe maltreatment. In 2009 the “Forum for medicine and human rights” at the Medical Faculty at the University Erlangen-Nuremburg has provided the first German edition of (...) this manual. The article traces back the development of the protocol taking into account the general background as well as the factual occasion of its initiation. The main ethical and legal principles of the manual are introduced as well as the projects for implementing the rules provided in the protocol that have been carried out so far. From this the urgent need for implementation of the Istanbul Protocol guidelines also in Europe and in German-speaking countries and here not exclusively but especially within asylum procedures becomes clear. (shrink)
The difficulties of establishing a definition of torture are discussed, and a definition is suggested. It is then argued that, irrespective of general ethical questions, doctors in particular should never be involved because of their social role.
Torture does need to be defined if we are to know exactly what we are seeking to ban; but no single definition will do, because there are many possible ones, and we may want to treat different practices that might be called torture differently. Compare the case of homicide; we do not want to punish manslaughter as severely as murder, and may not want to punish killing in self-defence at all. There are degrees of torture as of (...) murder. Unclarities simply play into the hands of would-be torturers. Downie is unsuccessful in deriving the duty of doctors not to be involved in torture from an analysis of the word `doctor'. It may be contrary to the role-duty of doctors to participate in torture; but there might be other duties which overrode this role-duty. The right approach is to ask what principles for the conduct of doctors have the highest acceptance-utility, or, as Kant might have equivalently put it, what the impartial furtherance of everyone's ends demands. This approach yields the result that torture (suitably defined) should be banned absolutely. It also yields prescriptions for the conduct of doctors where, in spite of them, torture is taking place. (shrink)
Torture-lite has been advanced as a new form of interrogation that raises the prospect of offering a more ethical way of colleting the intelligence needed to protect the state. However, this paper will argue that there can be no such thing as torture-lite as this misunderstands what interrogational torture is in the first place. Interrogational torture is a form of behavioural modification that relies on breaking the individual and conditioning their responses. Torture-lite would never be (...) able to create the self-betraying effect necessary for cases such as the ticking time bomb scenario without crossing over into the higher harms caused by full torture, and is unable to force the individual to provide the required information to serve as the good in the consequentialist argument. (shrink)
The profession of medicine has developed codes of ethical conduct for thousands of years. From the Hippocratic Oath of ancient Greece onward to modern times, a universal and central element of such codes has expressed the imperative that a physician shall “Do no harm.”.
Following the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, much support for torture interrogation of terrorists has emerged in the public forum, largely based on the “ticking bomb” scenario. Although deontological and virtue ethics provide incisive arguments against torture, they do not speak directly to scientists and government officials responsible for national security in a utilitarian framework. Drawing from criminology, organizational theory, social psychology, the historical record, and my interviews with military professionals, I assess the potential (...) of an official U.S. program of torture interrogation from a practical perspective. The central element of program design is a sound causal model relating input to output. I explore three principal models of how torture interrogation leads to truth: the animal instinct model, the cognitive failure model, and the data processing model. These models show why torture interrogation fails overall as a counterterrorist tactic. They also expose the processes that lead from a precision torture interrogation program to breakdowns in key institutions—health care, biomedical research, police, judiciary, and military. The breakdowns evolve from institutional dynamics that are independent of the original moral rationale. The counterargument, of course, is that in a society destroyed by terrorism there will be nothing to repair. That is why the actual causal mechanism of torture interrogation in curtailing terrorism must be elucidated by utilitarians rather than presumed. (shrink)
Torture continues to be a pressing political issue in North America, yet religious scholarly reflection on the ethics of torture remains all but sidelined in public discourse for a variety of complex reasons. These reasons are explored—and critiqued—in this collection of reflections by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and feminist religious ethicists. These scholars find that historical amnesia, forced if not twisted readings of classical texts and contemporary human rights instruments, and sociological factors are but a few of the (...) factors challenging contemporary religious ethical discourse on torture. (shrink)
Evidence proves that physician involvement in torture is widely practiced in society. Despite its status as an illegal act as established by multiple international organizations, mandates are routinely unheeded and feebly enforced. Philosophies condemning and condoning torture are examined as well as physicians’ professional responsibilities and the manner in which such varying allegiances can be persuasive. Physician involvement in torture has proven detrimental to the core values of medicine and has tainted the field’s commitment to individuals’ health (...) and well-being. Only when this complex issue is addressed using a multilevel approach will the moral rehabilitation of medicine begin. (shrink)
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, policy makers and others have debated the question of whether or not the United States should torture in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. In a series of controversial essays, the legal theorist Alan Dershowitz argues that, if a democratic society is going to torture, it should at least be done under the cover of law. To that end, he recommends establishing a legal mechanism by which a judge could issue (...) class='Hi'>torture warrants—much as they do now for search warrants. In this essay, I examine Dershowitz's proposal in light of Michael Walzer's classic essay on dirty hands. Just as Walzer uses political theater as a lens for viewing the issue of political assassination, I similarly draw upon a dramatic response to Dershowitz's proposal to think through the issue of torture warrants. (shrink)
I offer an argument for why torture, as an act of state-sponsored force to gain information crucial to the well-being of the common good, should be considered as a tactic of war, and therefore scrutinized in terms of just war theory. I argue that, for those committed to the justifiability of the use of force, most of the popular arguments against all acts of torture are unpersuasive because the logic behind them would forbid equally any act of mutilating (...) or killing in battle. I will also argue that looking at torture through the perspective of the just war tradition forces us to place strictures on the practice that make it hard to justify, helps us to see why torture should never be legalized, helps us to clarify when circumstances might justify torture, and suggests what sort of character is required to recognize when those circumstances have occurred. (shrink)
The military claims to be an honourable profession, yet military torture is widespread. Why is the military violating its own values? Jessica Wolfendale argues that the prevalence of military torture is linked to military training methods that cultivate the psychological dispositions connected to crimes of obedience. While these methods are used, the military has no credible claim to professional status. Combating torture requires that we radically rethink the nature of the military profession and military training.
This book traces the theory of violence from nineteenth-century symmetrical warfare through today's warfare of electronics and unbalanced numbers. Surveying such luminaries as Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt, Paul Virilio, and Jacques Derrida, Avelar also offers a discussion of theories of torture and confession, the work of Roman Polanski and Borges, and a meditation on the rise of the novel in Colombia.
Moral reasoning traditionally distinguishes two types of evil:moral (ME) and natural (NE). The standard view is that ME is theproduct of human agency and so includes phenomena such as war,torture and psychological cruelty; that NE is the product ofnonhuman agency, and so includes natural disasters such asearthquakes, floods, disease and famine; and finally, that morecomplex cases are appropriately analysed as a combination of MEand NE. Recently, as a result of developments in autonomousagents in cyberspace, a new class of interesting (...) and importantexamples of hybrid evil has come to light. In this paper, it iscalled artificial evil (AE) and a case is made for considering itto complement ME and NE to produce a more adequate taxonomy. Byisolating the features that have led to the appearance of AE,cyberspace is characterised as a self-contained environment thatforms the essential component in any foundation of the emergingfield of Computer Ethics (CE). It is argued that this goes someway towards providing a methodological explanation of whycyberspace is central to so many of CE's concerns; and it isshown how notions of good and evil can be formulated incyberspace. Of considerable interest is how the propensity for anagent's action to be morally good or evil can be determined evenin the absence of biologically sentient participants and thusallows artificial agents not only to perpetrate evil (and forthat matter good) but conversely to `receive' or `suffer from'it. The thesis defended is that the notion of entropy structure,which encapsulates human value judgement concerning cyberspace ina formal mathematical definition, is sufficient to achieve thispurpose and, moreover, that the concept of AE can be determinedformally, by mathematical methods. A consequence of this approachis that the debate on whether CE should be considered unique, andhence developed as a Macroethics, may be viewed, constructively,in an alternative manner. The case is made that whilst CE issuesare not uncontroversially unique, they are sufficiently novel torender inadequate the approach of standard Macroethics such asUtilitarianism and Deontologism and hence to prompt the searchfor a robust ethical theory that can deal with them successfully.The name Information Ethics (IE) is proposed for that theory. Itis argued that the uniqueness of IE is justified by its beingnon-biologically biased and patient-oriented: IE is anEnvironmental Macroethics based on the concept of data entityrather than life. It follows that the novelty of CE issues suchas AE can be appreciated properly because IE provides a newperspective (though not vice versa). In light of the discussionprovided in this paper, it is concluded that Computer Ethics isworthy of independent study because it requires its ownapplication-specific knowledge and is capable of supporting amethodological foundation, Information Ethics. (shrink)
Torture is unethical and usually counterproductive. It is prohibited by international and national laws. Yet it persists: according to Amnesty International, torture is widespread in more than a third of countries. Physicians and other medical professionals are frequently asked to assist with torture. -/- Medical complicity in torture, like other forms of involvement, is prohibited both by international law and by codes of professional ethics. However, when the victims of torture are also patients in (...) need of treatment, doctors can find themselves torn. To accede to the requests of the torturers may entail assisting or condoning terrible acts. But to refuse care to someone in medical need may seem like abandoning a patient and thereby fail to exhibit the beneficence expected of physicians. -/- In this paper, we argue that this dilemma is real and that sometimes the right thing for a doctor to do, overall, is to be complicit in torture. Though complicity in a wrongful act is itself prima facie wrongful, this judgment may be outweighed by other factors. We propose three criteria for analyzing how those factors apply to particular cases of medical complicity in torture. (shrink)
What follows is a dialogue, in the Platonic sense, concerning the justifications for "business ethics" as a vehicle for asking questions about the values of modern business organisations. The protagonists are the authors, Gordon Pearson – a pragmatist and sceptic where business ethics is concerned – and Martin Parker – a sociologist and idealist who wishes to be able to ask ethical questions of business. By the end of the dialogue we come to no agreement on the necessity (...) or justification for business ethics, but on the way discuss the uses of philosophy, the meanings of integrity and trust, McDonald''s, a hypothetical torture manufacturer and various other matters. (shrink)
The Philosophy of War and Exile argues that our current paradigms for thinking about the ethics of war - just war theory - and the suffering of war - PTSD theory - judge war without a proper understanding of war. By continuing the investigations of J. Glenn Gray into the meaning of how war is experienced by combatants we can find an alternative understanding of not only war, but of peace, culminating in a new theory of responsibility centered around (...) embodiment and mortality rather than praise and blame. This conception of responsibility will in turn allow us to not only ask new questions about torture, unmanned warfare, and the treatment of veterans, but also to ask new questions about what it means for noncombatants to experience as home what combatants experience as exile. (shrink)
Must we fight terrorism with terror and torture with torture? Must we sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety?In the age of terrorism Michael Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence. But its use - in a liberal democracy - must be measured. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good. We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, (...) but we must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, yet restrained. The public scrutiny and political ethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when vengeance and hatred are spent. (shrink)
Are today’s wars different from earlier wars? Or do we need a different ethics for old and new wars alike? Unlike most books on the morality of war, this book rejects the ‘just war’ tradition, proposing a virtue ethics of war to take its place. Like torture, war cannot be justified. This book asks and answers the question: “If war is a very great evil, would a leader with courage, justice, compassion, and all the other moral virtues (...) ever choose to fight a war?” A ‘philosophy of co-existence’ is proposed which is much more restrictive than just war theory but not pacifist. War can be correctly chosen by a virtuous leader only in rare ‘supreme emergencies’ when faced with enemies as evil as Hitler. This virtue ethics approach to war is used to find new answers to difficult issues such as humanitarian intervention, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. (shrink)
In this contribution to philosophical ethics, Claudia Card revisits the theory of evil developed in her earlier book The Atrocity Paradigm, and expands it to consider collectively perpetrated and collectively suffered atrocities. Redefining evil as a secular concept and focusing on the inexcusability - rather than the culpability - of atrocities, Card examines the tension between responding to evils and preserving humanitarian values. This stimulating and often provocative book contends that understanding the evils in terrorism, torture and genocide (...) enables us to recognise similar evils in everyday life: daily life under oppressive regimes and in racist environments; violence against women, including in the home; violence and executions in prisons; hate crimes; and violence against animals. Card analyses torture, terrorism and genocide in the light of recent atrocities, considering whether there can be moral justifications for terrorism and torture, and providing conceptual tools to distinguish genocide from non-genocidal mass slaughter. (shrink)
David Luban is one of the world's leading scholars of legal ethics. In this collection of his most significant papers he ranges over such topics as the moral psychology of organisational evil, the strengths and weaknesses of the adversary system, and jurisprudence from the lawyer's point of view. His discussion combines philosophical argument, legal analysis and many cases drawn from actual law practice, and he defends a theory of legal ethics that focuses on lawyers' role in enhancing human (...) dignity and human rights. In addition to an analytical introduction, the volume includes two major previously unpublished papers, including a detailed critique of the US government lawyers who produced the notorious 'torture memos'. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers in both philosophy and law. (shrink)
Introduction -- Value theory : the nature of the good life -- Epicurus letter to Menoeceus -- John Stuart Mill, Hedonism -- Aldous Huxley, Brave new world -- Robert Nozick, The experience machine -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Jean Kazez, Necessities -- Normative ethics : theories of right conduct -- J.J.C. Smart, Eextreme and restricted utilitarianism -- Immanuel Kant the good will & the categorical imperative -- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan -- Philippa Foot, Natural goodness -- Aristotle, (...) Nicomachean ethics -- W.D. Ross, What makes right acts right? -- Hilde Lindemann, What is feminist ethics? -- Metaethics : the status of morality -- David Hume, Moral distinctions not derived from reason -- J.L. Mackie, The subjectivity of values -- Gilbert Harman, Ethics and observation -- Mary Midgley, Trying out one's new sword -- Michael Smith, Rrealism -- Renford Bambrough, Pproof -- Moral problems -- Peter Singe, The Singer solution to world poverty -- Heidi Malm, Paid surrogacy: arguments and responses -- Ronald Dworkin, Playing God : genes, clones, and luck -- James Rachels, The morality of euthanasia -- John Harris, The survival lottery -- Peter Singer, Unsanctifying human life -- William F. Baxter, People or penguins : the case for optimal pollution -- Judith Jarvis, Tthomson a defense of abortion -- Don Marquis, Why abortion is immoral -- Jonathan Bennett, The conscience of Huckleberry Finn -- Michael Walzer, Terrorism : a critique of excuses -- David Luban, Liberalism, torture, and the ticking bomb -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail -- Igor Primoratz, Justifying legal punishment -- Stephen Nathanson, An eye for an eye -- Michael Huemer, America's unjust drug war -- John Corvino, Why shouldn't Tommy and Jimmy have sex? : a defense of homosexuality -- Bonnie Steinbock, Adultery -- Hugh Lafollette, Licensing parents -- Jane English, What do grown children owe their parents? (shrink)
Although knowledge of torture and physical and psychological abuse was widespread at both the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and known to medical personnel, there was no official report before the January 2004 Army investigation of military health personnel reporting abuse, degradation or signs of torture. Military medical personnel are placed in a position of a “dual loyalty” conflict. They have to balance the medical needs of their patients, who happen to be detainees, (...) with their military duty to their employer. The United States military medical system failed to protect detainee's human rights, violated the basic principles of medical ethics and ignored the basic tenets of medical professionalism. (shrink)
John McMillan's detailed ethical analysis concerning the use of surgical castration of sex offenders in the Czech Republic and Germany is mainly devoted to considerations of coercion.1 This is not surprising. When castration is offered as an option to offenders and, at the same time, constitutes the only means by which these offenders are likely to be released from prison, it is reasonable—and close to the heart of modern medical ethics—to consider whether the offer involves some kind of coercion. (...) However, despite McMillan's seemingly careful consideration of this question, it appears to us that the matter is more complicated than his approach to it suggests.The first thing that adds to the complexity of the discussion concerns the alternative for sex offenders who do not accept the offer of castration. As mentioned, it is likely that these offenders will be kept in prison. McMillan even underlines that they may be detained ‘indefinitely’. And the response report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to the Czech Government also emphasises—as part of the Czech Criminal Code—the possibility of ‘security detention’ that will last for as long as required for ‘the protection of society’.2 Suppose, …. (shrink)
Addresses the issues at the heart of international medicine and social responsibility. A number of international declarations have proclaimed that health care is a fundamental human right. But if we accept this broad commitment, how should we concretely define the state’s responsibility for the health of its citizens? Although there is growing debate over this issue, there are few books for general readers that provide engaging accounts of critical incidents, practices, and ideas in the field of human rights, health care, (...) and medicine. Included in the book are case studies of such issues as AIDS among orphans in Romania, organ trafficking, prison conditions, health care rationing, medical research in the third world, and South Africa’s constitutionally guaranteed right of access to health care. It uses these topics to address themes of protection of vulnerable populations, equity and fairness in delivering competent medical care, informed consent and the free flow of information, and state responsibility for ensuring physical, mental, and social well-being. (shrink)
The issue of interrogation of detainees has received much attention in the psychological literature and by the media. Some estimate that more than 300 articles have been published in psychological journals on this topic. This article reiterates the content of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security and provides a brief history and background. This is followed by a section on the torture of prisoners and the role of psychologists. It includes discussion of resolutions passed (...) by American Psychological Association (APA) on this topic and briefly reviews criticisms of these resolutions. The article concludes with a summary concerning the current status and reviews the referendum sent to APA members on whether APA members can work in detention settings that exist in violation of international law or the U.S. Constitution. Pro and con statements are discussed as is the formation of a task force to implement the referendum which was passed by a vote of 8792 in favor and 6,157 opposed. (shrink)
Despite nearly universal condemnation, torture remains a tool for interrogation, intimidation, and punishing. Even many who abhor torture are willing to consider its use in extraordinary situations. Both the deontological absolute prohibition of torture and the consequentialist justification of torture are inadequate ethics to address the issue. Dershowitz, Walzer, and Elshtain, among others, have attempted to redress the problem with more finely-tuned approaches, of which Elshtain's rejection of justification in favor of grace and forgiveness appears (...) the most promising. Confronting the practice of torture is also difficult because there is no generally accepted definition of what constitutes torture. Not all coercion is torture, and some coercion is both legal and moral. Torture, in any case, remains a wrongful act. (shrink)