Topic: To Torture or Not to Torture
Note: In order to fulfill this assignment, you need to have read the Group Discussion Board Forum 2 Instructions and the following chapters from Holmes: chs. 4–7, 14. If you have not done so, please stop and read that material.
For your thread, post an answer to the following 2 questions with at least 350 words:
From your understanding of Holmes’ discussions, explain how each of the following theories might answer the question: utilitarianism, Kantian duty-based ethics, virtue ethics, and Christian-principle based ethics.
Select the theory you think is the appropriate one to take in this case and explain why.
For your reply, locate a member of your group with whom you disagree and tell them why you disagree with them with at least 200 words. The disagreement could be over which view they took or their understanding of the other views.
Here is an example of a student writing on this topic.
From the Utilitatian perspective, the right thing to do would be to torture anyone if it means saving the lives of the multitude. I think this because the utilitarian wants to get the maximum benefit for the most possible people. On the other hand, the Christian principle based person could look at this and think that it would be cruel to torture this person and would be in direct violation of the ethics. They could argue that we are to “love others as ourselves” and this supercedes the needs of the many that could or would die. A Kantian duty-based person may say that a person should “always be treated as end and not just as means.” In other words, should be treated by a moral code or duty. The virtue ethic perspective would say that the reason behind the morally correct choice is what matters. They may say that since you would be torturing to save many it could be justified, or they may say that the information could been obtained in another way.
I really have a difficult time with this example. I am conflicted in what is right or wrong, good or bad with this. On one hand I feel as though as I Christian I should love my enemy no matter what harm they may cause. I should turn the other cheek so to speak. But as a person and a father I feel this overwhelming need to do whatever it takes to protect the people I love. I would say that more than anything I would fall in the utilitarian classification for this one. I think that torturing one person who has knowledge and intent to harm many is justified. I think that he forfeited his rights as loving human being when he plotted an attack against a country. I think there is also a difference between a stupid decision and planned attack on hundreds of people. This person will still get off easier if he were just tortured than if he had killed hundreds of innocent people. We should love people in general, but I cannot let someone purposely harm people knowing that I could have prevented it.
Holmes, Arthur F., 2007. Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions. IntaVarsity Press, USA.
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