Essay about The Ethics of Torture

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In the United States legal system, torture is currently defined as “an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control.” as defined by Office of the Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives (US Code, 1) Though this is a seemingly black and white definition, the conditional “…other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions…” have led many to question what precisely this entails. In other words, what are the lawful sanctions that permit such acts? Are they ethically right? Where is the line drawn as torture…show more content…
(Stanford 1) Also, one might be able to analyze the cost-benefit analysis in a specific situation, but what about the next time? Known as ‘the calculation problem’, it states that because we cannot always weigh the ‘prerequisite to outcome’ ratio the same in all situations, it is impossible to make a morally permissible universal rule, in this case, regarding torture. (Jason 5.8; 2) Next up is Ethical Egoism. Similar to Utilitarianism, it states that an act is procedurally or morally right. However, it is so only if it benefits the specific individual committing the act at that moment. (Jason 5.2; 1) Would it benefit an individual to torture someone? The individual could gain something from it such as prestige for diverting a threat or knowledge otherwise not obtained. But is it worth it? According to Joe Navarro of the F.B.I. “Only a psychopath can torture and be unaffected.” (NY 1) This is a question of good over bad for each specific individual to decide if they would or not torture. It cannot therefore be universalized. Enlightened Egoism on the other hand refers not to immediate effects but to long term effects. With this theory one might consider torture regarding the ticking time bomb scenario for a number of reasons. Perhaps because in the long run, in would be an inconvenience to live in a nuclear waste land, or because they

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