Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and TortureA Philosophical Analysis

Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and TortureA Philosophical Analysis

Fritz Allhoff

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226014838

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The general consensus among philosophers is that the use of torture is never justified. This book demonstrates the weakness of the case against torture. While allowing that torture constitutes a moral wrong, it nevertheless argues that, in exceptional cases, it represents the lesser of two evils. The book does not take this position lightly. It begins by examining the way terrorism challenges traditional norms, discussing the morality of various practices of torture, and critically exploring the infamous ticking time-bomb scenario. After carefully considering these issues from a purely philosophical perspective, the book turns to the empirical ramifications of his arguments, addressing criticisms of torture and analyzing the impact its adoption could have on democracy, institutional structures, and foreign policy. The crucial questions of how to justly authorize torture and how to set limits on its use make up the final section of the book.