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Why Not Torture Terrorists?Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture$
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Yuval Ginbar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.001.0001

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Consequentialist Argument for Torturing in a Ticking Bomb Situation

Consequentialist Argument for Torturing in a Ticking Bomb Situation

Chapter:
(p.20) 3 Consequentialist Argument for Torturing in a Ticking Bomb Situation
Source:
Why Not Torture Terrorists?
Author(s):

Yuval Ginbar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.003.0003

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 innocent civilians if the terrorist bomb were to explode. Such analysis would necessarily lead to a lesser evil choice in favour of torturing the terrorist. Deontologists with a ‘disastrous consequences clause’, allowing for consequentialist considerations to prevail, albeit only in extreme emergencies, raise arguments for torture that are identical. Therefore it is concluded that their approach to the ticking bomb dilemma is indistinguishable, for the purposes of this discussion, from that of consistent consequentialists.

Keywords:   moral philosophy, morality, consequentialism/utilitarianism, deontology, ticking bomb situation, torture, moral aspects, terrorism prevention, moral agent

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