Case Study: Applying Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

782 Words3 Pages
CASE STUDY APPLYING KOHLBERG'S THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT The Argument for Torturing the Bomber This case is the exact "ticking time bomb" situation described by renowned constitutional scholar Allan Dershowitz (2002) who has argued very convincingly that it might justify torture under very specific limitations. Specifically, Dershowitz has suggested that (only) in cases where there is no question of guilt or denial, torture for the purpose of saving innocent lives could be morally and ethically justified. To avoid torture ever being applied outside of the narrow range of situations in which it is justified, Dershowitz outlined the mechanism of a torture warrant, which could be issued only by a judge and only upon satisfaction of an even higher standard than the traditional probable cause used for search and arrest warrants. In principle, torturing a person for the purpose of punishment, retribution, or deterrence would still never be morally or ethically justified. However, where the individual acknowledges guilt and where the lives of innocent victims can only be saved by extracting the necessary information from the individual, and where that individual has the autonomous control over the choice to divulge the information, there would not appear to be any principle or value that would value the right of the bomber not to be tortured above the rights of the innocent not to be killed. This scenario differs from that described by Dershowitz only in that bomber is
Open Document