Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture: A Philosophical Analysis

University of Chicago Press
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The general consensus among philosophers is that the use of torture is never justified. In Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture, Fritz Allhoff demonstrates the weakness of the case against torture; while allowing that torture constitutes a moral wrong, he nevertheless argues that, in exceptional cases, it represents the lesser of two evils. Allhoff does not take this position lightly. He 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, he 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 this timely, provocative, and carefully argued book.
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About the author

Fritz Allhoff is associate professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University and a senior research fellow at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University. He is coauthor of What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter? and the editor or coeditor of numerous volumes, including Wine & Philosophy, Physicians at War, and The Philosophy of Science.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jul 24, 2012
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9780226014821
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / General
Political Science / Terrorism
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Fritz Allhoff
Philosophical and ethical discussions of warfare are often tied to emerging technologies and techniques. Today we are presented with what many believe is a radical shift in the nature of war-the realization of conflict in the cyber-realm, the so-called "fifth domain" of warfare. Does an aggressive act in the cyber-realm constitute an act of war? If so, what rules should govern such warfare? Are the standard theories of just war capable of analyzing and assessing this mode of conflict? These changing circumstances present us with a series of questions demanding serious attention. Is there such a thing as cyberwarfare? How do the existing rules of engagement and theories from the just war tradition apply to cyberwarfare? How should we assess a cyber-attack conducted by a state agency against private enterprise and vice versa? Furthermore, how should actors behave in the cyber-realm? Are there ethical norms that can be applied to the cyber-realm? Are the classic just war constraints of non-combatant immunity and proportionality possible in this realm? Especially given the idea that events that are constrained within the cyber-realm do not directly physically harm anyone, what do traditional ethics of war conventions say about this new space? These questions strike at the very center of contemporary intellectual discussion over the ethics of war. In twelve original essays, plus a foreword from John Arquilla and an introduction, Binary Bullets: The Ethics of Cyberwarfare, engages these questions head on with contributions from the top scholars working in this field today.
Fritz Allhoff
Philosophical and ethical discussions of warfare are often tied to emerging technologies and techniques. Today we are presented with what many believe is a radical shift in the nature of war-the realization of conflict in the cyber-realm, the so-called "fifth domain" of warfare. Does an aggressive act in the cyber-realm constitute an act of war? If so, what rules should govern such warfare? Are the standard theories of just war capable of analyzing and assessing this mode of conflict? These changing circumstances present us with a series of questions demanding serious attention. Is there such a thing as cyberwarfare? How do the existing rules of engagement and theories from the just war tradition apply to cyberwarfare? How should we assess a cyber-attack conducted by a state agency against private enterprise and vice versa? Furthermore, how should actors behave in the cyber-realm? Are there ethical norms that can be applied to the cyber-realm? Are the classic just war constraints of non-combatant immunity and proportionality possible in this realm? Especially given the idea that events that are constrained within the cyber-realm do not directly physically harm anyone, what do traditional ethics of war conventions say about this new space? These questions strike at the very center of contemporary intellectual discussion over the ethics of war. In twelve original essays, plus a foreword from John Arquilla and an introduction, Binary Bullets: The Ethics of Cyberwarfare, engages these questions head on with contributions from the top scholars working in this field today.
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