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Pros And Cons Of Torture

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In this paper, I will begin by outlining Shue’s argument that while there may be some rare circumstances in which torture would be morally permissible, laws against torture should not be less severe, as torture does not satisfy the constraint of possible compliance (CPC), and other moral considerations. I will argue that since the cessation of torture cannot be guaranteed by the torturer, interrogational torture does not satisfy the CPC. Then, I will consider the objection that in practice, torture systems can ascertain the compliance needed by the victim, and can ensure this compliance is within the victim’s power. I will conclude by countering this point, as systems of torture have proven to be unreliable, and generally, unnecessary. Shue begins by discussing the codes of war to illustrate the problem with torture. He asserts with war is a “fair fight” as one’s opponent can to defend themselves (Shue, 297). On the other hand, torture involves an assault on a defenseless person as they are at the complete mercy of their torturer. However, Shue claims that it may possible that the victim is not completely defenseless; refusing to comply with the torturers’ demands indicates that the victim still has some agency. By having this agency, they can complete an act of compliance that would end the torture (Shue, 298). The CPC are the conditions that need to be met to ensure the agency of the victim. The three moral constraints within the CPC follow that the “purpose of the
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