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Torture and the Ticking Bomb

Torture and the Ticking Bomb

Bob Brecher

ISBN: 978-1-405-16202-9

Sep 2007

132 pages

In Stock

$32.95

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

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

“Bob Brecher has accepted the challenge of the defenders of torture in this excellent book.” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, February 2009)

""(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)

""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)

  • 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