The Ethics of Torture

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A&C Black, Jul 21, 2009 - Philosophy - 164 pages
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Torture has recently been the subject of some sensational headlines. As a result, there has been a huge surge in interest in the ethical implications of this contentious issue.

The Ethics of Torture offers the first complete introduction to the philosophical debates surrounding torture. The book asks key questions in light of recent events such as the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.  What makes torture morally reprehensible? Are there any conditions under which torture is acceptable? What is it like to be tortured, and why do people engage in torture?

The authors argue that the force of the most common arguments for torture (like the ticking-bomb argument) are significantly overestimated, while the wrongness of torture has been significantly underestimated even by those who argue against it.

This is the ideal introduction to the ethics of torture for students of moral philosophy or political theory. It also constitutes a significant contribution to the torture debate in its own right, presenting a unique approach to investigating this dark practice.
 

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Contents

Coming to Definitional Terms with TortureFour Models
1
The Economic Model of TortureTickingBomb Arguments and Torture Warrants
16
The Phenomenological Model of TortureDignity and the Destruction of Agency
56
The Dramaturgical Model of TortureInterrogations Immorality Play
77
The Communicative Model of TortureUnderstanding Institutionally Permissive Torture
100
Assessing the Varieties of TortureConcluding Reflections on a Recurrent Problem
118
Notes
123
Bibliography
131
Index
159
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About the author (2009)

J. Jeremy Wisnewski is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hartwick College, USA and Editor of Review Journal of Political Philosophy. His publications include Wittgenstein and Ethical Inquiry (Continuum, 2007), The Politics of Agency (Ashgate, 2008), Family Guy and Philosophy (Blackwell, 2007) and The Office and Philosophy (Blackwell, 2008).

R.D. Emerick is Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, Palomar College, San Marcos, USA.

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