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Why Not Torture Terrorists?Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture$
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Yuval Ginbar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.001.0001

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Part II—Introduction

Part II—Introduction

(p.95) 7 Part II—Introduction
Why Not Torture Terrorists?

Yuval Ginbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces Part II, examining the ticking bomb question as one of public, practical, morality in the real world, namely whether it is morally justifiable for democratic states facing terrorism to torture in order to save many innocent lives. It outlines the parameters for discussing the question. Part II is to first address the question of whether transferring the ‘torture in a ticking bomb situation’ (TBS) moral dilemma from the private to the public sphere in itself entails a different moral solution. Secondly, the question is to be addressed of whether — accepting arguendo that torture in this situation is morally justified — states can torture in TBSs while limiting both torture and its direct and indirect harm to a morally acceptable level, or else must slide down an inevitable, and intolerable ‘slippery slope’. ‘Slippery surface’ dangers unique to the public sphere are also discussed.

Keywords:   moral philosophy, minimal absolutism, ticking bomb situation, democracy, torture, moral aspects, slippery slope arguments, terrorism prevention, practical aspects, slippery surface arguments

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