Torture

Some hold torture to be inherently unethical and never justified. Others see torture as a necessary evil in extremely limited situations. Still others see torture as just another weapon to be used against the enemy.

Torture raises fundamental questions about ideas that are core to bioethics. What is the basis of human dignity? Are there some things we should never do to another human? Why? Do the ends justify the means, especially when the alternative involves much pain and suffering? Are thought experiments, like the ticking bomb scenario, helpful or harmful in resolving ethical issues? And how do films and popular TV shows like 24 impact debate over the ethics of torture? These are some of the issues I’ve been exploring in my writing on this topic. Click on the links to get to the article or further information about the book.

What Would Jack Do? The Ethics of Torture in 24,” Global Dialogue 12.1-2 (Winter/Spring 2010).

Evil to Prevent Evil: The Ethics of Torture,” in Against Doing Nothing. Edited by Shilinka Smith and Shona Hill, pp. 39-50. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010.

“Torture Ethics and Torture Narratives,” Mis/Representing Evil. Edited by Charlene P. E. Burns, pp. 55-75. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2009.

“The Ethics of Torture in 24:  Shockingly Banal,” in 24 and Philosophy: The World According to Jack. Edited by Jennifer Hart Weed, Richard Davis and Ronald Weed, pp. 91-104. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Reprinted in Introducing Philosophy Through Pop Culture: From Socrates to South Park, Hume to House. Edited by William Irwin and David Kyle Johnson, pp. 269-279. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.