The use of torture as a weapon for coercing an individual to do or say something of desire or for intimidation is a widely debated subject worldwide, though some level of torture is utilized by most countries, including those that are often regarded as being highly civil (Cahn, 2016, p.296-27). Given that, based on data from Amnesty International, the use of torture is on the rise, it is extremely important to explore the moral significance of torture as a weapon of both coercion and intimidation (Cahn, 2016, p.296). According to Henry Shue, a former researcher and Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University, torture is “contrary to every international law, including the laws of war” and is morally never acceptable, though there are very limited circumstances in which the use of torture is less morally unacceptable, such as when the use of torture satisfies the constraints of possible compliance (Cahn, 2016, p.296-298; Mertel, 2017a, slide 2). The first part of this paper will examine Shue’s argument by exploring “the constraint of possible compliance” and its importance to Shue, and will discuss the various forms of torture and their relation to this key concept. The second part will defend Shue’s stance on the moral acceptance of torture by analyzing the key points he puts forward in his argument and demonstrating their moral plausibility. The final part will offer one potential objection to this position and a refute argument to the objection.
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