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Is it moral to the torture the individual involved with the bomb? Essay

Is it moral to the torture the individual involved with the bomb?, 499 words essay example

Essay Topic: torture

The ticking time bomb situation is most often used to help set up the framework to question the morality of torture. In general, several bombs have been discovered in a highly populated area. There is not enough time to evacuate all of the people, only enough time is left to deactivate all of the bombs. Fortunately a suspect with knowledge of the bombs is captured, but is unwilling to give up information on diffusing the bombs. This brings about the question of torture. Although it is currently illegal, the police believe the suspect will supply information if he is tortured by any means. In this situation, is it morally permissible to torture the suspect, in order to gain information to save the lives of many?

In my viewpoint of the situation, the torture of the individual involved with the bomb should be considered immoral. In this scenario, it is usually assumed that the suspect will release pertinent information if he is brutally tortured. Unfortunately, in the real world this situation is far and few between. Many times, the extreme pain from torture could cause the suspect to say any information in order to get the pain to stop. A real world example of this is the capture and torture of Senator John McCain. As a prisoner of war, McCain was tortured and interrogated to determine the names of the members of his group. In order to make the torture stop, he wrote a letter of confession stating he was a black criminal air pirate and passed of the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line as the members of his group. In this case, the Vietnamese thought they had obtained useful information, but were completely fooled. So in the case of the ticking time bomb, the police may obtain information that they believe is truly helpful, ultimately allowing bombs to detonate and innocent people to still be killed. In this case the torture did not save the lives of the many, and it did not increase the utility of the people affected. It caused an outcome where in my opinion the utility of the people affected was greatly diminished.

There is also the assumption made in this ticking time bomb situation that torture is the only means to obtain the necessary information. People are trained on many different forms of interrogation. In order for the torture to even be considered justifiable all of these methods would first have to be ruled out. It can be said that this methods of interrogation or not severe enough to make a person divulge information, so torture should be the first option. But in this case, the suspect is strictly being used as a means to end the situation. According to Kant, people cannot and should not be used a means to an end as it slowly takes away from their personal autonomy. The person is no longer able to rule their own decisions, but rather are left in the hands of 

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