Wiley.com
Print this page Share
Textbook

Torture and the Ticking Bomb

September 2007, ©2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Torture and the Ticking Bomb (EHEP002114) cover image

Description

This timely and passionate book is the first to address itself to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz’s controversial arguments for the limited use of interrogational torture and its legalisation.
  • Argues that the respectability Dershowitz's arguments confer on the view that torture is a legitimate weapon in the war on terror needs urgently to be countered
  • Takes on the advocates of torture on their own utilitarian grounds
  • Timely and passionately written, in an accessible, jargon-free style
  • Forms part of the provocative and timely Blackwell Public Philosophy series
See More

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

What is Torture? 3

Dershowitz on Interrogational Torture 6

Why Write about Torture? 8

The Agenda 11

2 The Fantasy of the Ticking Bomb Scenario 14

Dershowitz’s Argument and the Ticking Bomb 14

Who Tortures? 21

Effectiveness and Time 24

Knowledge and Necessity 31

The Ticking Bomb Scenario: Conclusion 38

3 The Consequences of Normalizing Interrogational Torture 40

Some Clarifications 41

Three Positive Claims about the Consequences of Legalizing Interrogational Torture 52

The Institutionalization of Interrogational Torture 57

A Torturous Society 72

4 Torture, Death and Philosophy 75

Torture 76

Torture, Death and Interrogation 79

Why No Decent Society Can Torture 84

Torture, the “War on Terror” and Intellectual Irresponsibility 85

But What if Torture Really is the Only Possible Way to Avoid Catastrophe? 86

Two Final Points 88

Notes 89

Bibliography 109

Index 117

See More

Author Information

Bob Brecher is Reader in Moral Philosophy at the University of Brighton, UK and Director of its Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics. He is the author of two previous books, Anselm's Argument: the Logic of Divine Existence and Getting What You Want?: a Critique of Liberal Morality (1998). He has published widely in ethics and social and political philosophy and was the founding editor of the journal Res Publica.
See More

The Wiley Advantage

  • The first book to address itself directly to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz’s controversial arguments for the limited legalized use of interrogational torture in so-called ‘ticking bomb’ scenarios
  • Argues that the respectability these arguments confer on the view that torture is a legitimate weapon in the war on terror needs urgently to be countered
  • Takes on the advocates of torture on their own utilitarian grounds
  • Timely and passionately written, in an accessible, jargon-free style
  • Forms part of the provocative and timely Blackwell Public Philosophy series
See More

Reviews

"Brecher relentlessly deconstructs the most misleading hypothetical of our time. His lively and valuable book shows that even 'noble cause' torture is always counterproductive."
Geoffrey Robertson QC, Doughty Street Chambers<!--end-->

"(Dershowitz's) premise is subjected to a withering scrutiny in this brilliant deconstruction by the moral philosopher Bob Brecher. In a comprehensive critique of the 'ticking bomb' hypothesis, Brecher exposes the moral and intellectual flaws in Dershowitz's arguments and shows how easily such pragmatic rationalisations can open the door to the creation of a 'tortuous society'. It's a task that Brecher accomplishes with grace, moral passion and unswerving logic."
Red Pepper, March 2008

"Quite simply, this book is the most powerful and comprehensive challenge available to a piece of intellectual fraud having wide commerce today – that under some hypothetical situation the infliction of pain to break another’s will is morally justifiable. The ticking bomb, in Brecher’s analysis, is a fantasy that hardly yields grounds sufficient for the employment of interrogational torture. Here the philosopher’s role towards that fantasy is quite clear: debunk it!"
Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, Youngstown State University

"A splendid attack on the appalling idea of legalising torture."
Will Podmore

“A salutary antidote to those who would waver on the issue [of torture]…Brecher opens up the wider utilitarian implications that arise.”
Planet Magazine

“Brecher … does not reflexively dismiss the advocates of torture … .He carefully cites the errors of their arguments, using logic, expert opinion, and moral reasoning.”
PsycCritiques


See More
Purchase Options
Paperback   
Torture and the Ticking Bomb
ISBN : 978-1-4051-6202-9
132 pages
September 2007, ©2007
$32.95   BUY

Hardcover   
Torture and the Ticking Bomb
ISBN : 978-1-4051-6201-2
136 pages
September 2007
$100.95   BUY

Back to Top