Understanding Torture

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Edinburgh University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 273 pages
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Despite Victor Hugo's proclamation (in the 19th-century) that torture no longer exists, we find it in virtually every corner of the world - even now, even in those nations that claim to be paradigms of civility.In this important new book, J. Jeremy Wisnewski examines and explains the moral dimensions of this perennial practice, paying careful attention to what lessons torture can teach us about our own moral psychology. Why is it that torture still exists in a world where it is routinely regarded as immoral? Is it possible to eliminate torture, and if so, how? What exactly does it mean to call something 'torture, ' and is it always morally reprehensible?Arguments in favour of torture abound, but Wisnewski contends that there are powerful arguments for a universal prohibition against torture. By systematically exposing the weaknesses of the dominant arguments for torture, drawing on resources in both analytic and continental philosophy, as well as relevant empirical literature in psychology, Wisnewski aims to provide an over-arching account of torture: what it is, why it's wrong, and why even the most civilized people can nevertheless engage in it

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About the author (2010)

J. Jeremy Wisnewski is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hartwick College. He is the author of numerous books and articles in moral philosophy, phenomenology, and the philosophy of social science.

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