Philosophy and Social Ethics
Philosophy and Social Ethics Phil 1104
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PHIL1104 Study Guide Midterm General Annas Plato Philosophy allows you to understand issues about politics To understand philosophy talk to people about it or write about it Read paper 3X First quick read pull out big arguments Second slowly highlight and make notes in margin Third take highlights and notes and write them up Philosophy involves a love ofwisdomre ecting upon past and thinking about present and future thoughts on things in word why they eXist and why they are the way they are Ethics standards of living appropriately quotHow ought I to live Morality actively trying to live within the constraints of ethics Argument a position someone takes regarding an issue and has reasons that validate their position Ethical dilemmas involves choice where one option in icts harm on someone choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream isn t an ethical dilemma because nothing rides on that choice Moral realist someone who thinks that there is a quotrightquot answer in every situation Metaphysics study of reality independent of we happen to see reality given our point ofview ie what is the world really like ifwe take ourselves out of the equation Epistemology study of knowledge what is it when you know something Existentialist doubt life has meaning therefore has to have an end Notion of thinking about life as a whole Action purposeful deliberate behavior aimed at good and will lead to a purposeful end Final ends bring the chain of actions to an end There is either a final end or there is never an end in which case life would be meaningless Annas ends are nested ie want to hit the ball over the net in order to play tennis in order to exercise in order to be healthy in order to live a long life Can there be multiple final ends No because when those ends con ict you wouldn t be able to choose the quotbestquot end Annas believes the final end is happiness which is not an emotion but a view of how well you lived your life doesn t happen until after dead Argument for why lives should have a single final end Eudiamonia final end happiness sense of someone having lived a happy good life and only applies to the whole life after death Happiness is the journey not the target telos endend of life is when can determine if it was happy Instrumental value value somethingsomeone because ofwhat it can get you hammer is instrumental in pounding the nail into the oor Intrinsic valuevalue something has independent ofwhat it can do for you Some things have both instrumental and intrinsic value ie education can help you get a good job which helps you put money in the bank which helps you live better life education can be intrinsically valuable in that your mind is trained to function in the world we live in Some things can only be instrumental badtasting medicine has no value to us right now but will help us feel better soon Given those definitions happiness is an intrinsic value because it does nothing for you until you re dead and can t be given to us Happiness is something we have to DO have to make good on the opportunity ofliving It has to be earned and it must be stable to a certain degree Greeks thought quotpleasurequot might be happiness Hedonists believe life with most pleasure is happiest Epicureans believed pleasure was intrinsic in that it stops desire however it would be better to forsake pleasure now for some greater pleasure later on Epicurean view was a refinement of the term quotpleasurequot For them pleasureabsence of pain ifyou re hungry eat hunger pains are gone THEREFORE happiest life would be the most tranquil no hunger no fatigue etc Cyriac believed we shouldn t waste our time What if that greater pleasure never came Stoics believed that virtue was necessary and sufficient for happiness 4 Cardinal Virtues Courage Self Discipline temperance ustice fairness in all of our interpersonal relationships Wisdom Aristotle thought this was foolish would mean that if you were a slave but virtuous you would be happy even being a slave He thought virtues were critical but needed external goods to be happy money friends good looks Plato believed biggest question we have to face is what is the role ofmorality in a happy life Immoral people THINK they re wise You re a fool not to take the The wise thing to do is take the and don t smile too much so you don t get caught Immoral people thing they re winning BUT winning by cheating ISN T winning at all Glaucon s strategy for arguing that morality is for fools entails 3 steps Describing the genesis of morality Morality is a necessary evil Immorality is better than morality Butler Begins with observation It s fun to be bad when you can get away with it It s good because you get what you want but its bad because there is a high price if you re caught cheat on your spouse lose your home family friends etc The high price is a construct of society to dissuade us from being immoral The ideal situation is where you can do anything you want and get away with it The worst would be to have someone be immoral to you and you have no means for retribution Glaucon suggests there is a compromise between the two The second strategy Glaucon suggests is that we would never choose morality for it s own sake so it can t be intrinsically valuable only instrumentally ie morality is good only in that it is the lesser of two evils Glaucon suggests that even the most moral person will stray when given the opportunity and uses the story of Geiges and the ring to illustrate the point Consummately immoral person will be a clever genius at immorality He ll never let on that he s immoral he ll have a great reputation everyone will love him but he ll have the wife and the mistress Consummately moral person will care more about being quotgoodquot than about his reputation He ll be honest with everyone which is bound to land him in trouble Plato is suggesting that a moral person would not be wildly successful in real life If he wanted to be more successful he wouldn t tell the tyrant he was being a quotjerkquot The moral person and the immoral person both believe the other has a quotherd mentality Each agree people can be deceived about being happy but each thinks the other is the one being deceived which leads us to All about selfdeception and partiality Sometimes being partial is the right thing to do if our child and another child are drowning in a pool and we have to question quotwhich child should I save we ve had one thought too many We can be wrong about how happy we are We can think we re happily married with a great family when in reality our spouse is cheating and our kids are miserable Example imagine someone who has only eaten lukewarm gruel their entire life then you take them to McDonald s and they think NOW I know what good food is Everybody rates happiness the same as whether they re good drivers Moral we can t trust our own judgement Supervenience treat like cases alike If two people doing same thing in the same situation and we judge one of them to be wrong we have to also judge the other wrong We tend to be unduly partial to ourselves we don t know ourselves nearly as well as we think we do The ability to deceive ourselves is evolutionary we don t notice every beat of our heart or our breathingwould go crazy ifwe did hence we ignore certain things we do because to think about it would make us go crazy with guilt We all have blind spots which are useful but we have to be careful or we ll self destruct want to know what YOUR blind spot is Think about your worst enemy what is the ONE thing you would never want them to know about you That s your blind spot The only time we engage our brain heart etc is to judge others or to justify our own behavior 0 We overplay our contributions but underplay others 0 We are most likely to justify our behaviors when passions are en amed 0 We have developed a sensitivity to feelings of shame and guilt 0 Can t say it s illegal to do thisfor everyone but me 0 Sources of selfdeception 1 Absence of mistrust don t question our own behaviortext while driving 2 Lack of self re ection Wait I m picking up my phone to text 3 Disregard ofprecept I won t get into an accident ifI text but YOU will 4 Assumption that all is right Bloomfield Glaucon questions quotwhy be moral Bloomfield answers quotImmoral people lack self respect therefore can t be happy 3 assumptions 1 Theory where if we were unable to be happy that would be a harmful self defeating theory by which to live 2 It is impossible for a person to be happy without self respect 3 If one disrespects oneself one lacks self respect Being immoral keeps you from self respect and can t be happy without self respect Clayton Bigsby disrespects himselfwithout even knowing it Opens the possibility that this COULD happen Self respect isn t like pain it is a reaction to our perception of ourself Resentment and respect are 2place relations meaning they can be Genuine resent the person who harmed meconcept of ourself is actual and truthful Fraudulent mistake the person who harmed youfalse concept of oneselfwhat you wish were trueselfaggrandized Contingent accidental properties properties that can change accidently pluck one hair from head doesn t affect who I am Essential properties iflost or replaced I wouldn t even exist I m alive if lost that property I would cease to exist Immoral harm my interests set back in some way accidentally OR intentionally Rawls De re disrespect disrespect for someone s essential properties ifI decide I m going to mug the next person who walks by I am de re disrespecting them by treating them like an ATM and not like a person Racial epithet can equally disrespect every person of that race All rapes of women are disrespectful to ALL women Crimes against humanity are really directed only at the actual victims But the crime makes us feel as if any of us could be the neXt victim Bloomfield s premise is the crime hurts the perpetrator because his self respect is lost whether he knows it or not Manipulation is an immoral harm Mechanism for liberal conception of government Concerned with justice in social situations What makes social institutions just justice the elimination of arbitrary distinctions Rawls has two principles Each person has an equal right to the greatest amount ofliberty compatible with a like amount for all my liberty is only constrained by yours Inequalities are unjust unless they benefit everyone Ceteris Paribus all other things being equal Butler s notion of supervenience is built into the first principle It would be irrational for us to unnecessarily limit liberty ifwe didn t have to Inequalities are ok only if they benefit everyone Person who has more responsibilities should have more incentives as long as the position with additional responsibilities is offered to all In this case Rawls says nepotism is ok AS LONG as the bosses son is the MOST qualified Rawls gives us a thought experiment where we imagine hypothetical small isolated society that doesn t need government Everyone of roughly power and intelligence Without a government bound to have complaints ab out someone else Have to think about complaint procedures Thought position dubbed original position pregovernment society brand new no judiciary no legislation eventually someone is going to steal something so will need a governing body eventually In this society people are similar all self interested all roughly capable of hurting one another no one can stand out from the crowd Superman would ruin Rawls proposal because he would have no reason to limit himself Could always win Would never enter into this sort of gov t All minimally rational capable of making plans for future prudential reasoning re shortterm v longterm gains 0 Justice is the elimination of arbitrary distinctions o Rawls uses principles ofjustice to create laws All want to maximize our interests and minimize risk maximum liberty compatible with a like amount of liberty for all All inequalities must benefit everyone 0 The problem is that at the original position we are all under a veil of ignorance ie we re making laws that might work against us after we leave the original position IfI make a law that all blueeyed people should be put to death immediately I don t know whether I ll have blue eyes or not once I leave the original position 0 Rawls focuses on justice as fairness o Moral supervenience can t create law where murder is illegal except when I do it o Rawls does this to appeal to our intuition o Rawls says we have to live in a way that we have enough space to coeXist with our enemies o Rawls describes justice as fairness sense of fairplay which is primitive enough that even little kids on the playground understand what is fair and what isn t o Fairness is when no one feels taken advantage of or forced to follow rules that don t seem fair 0 prrinciples are fair we have a prima facie obligation to live in accordance 0 We should be happy to live in accordance 0 Living in society is a benefit to us Only cost is not harming others can choose not to live according to rules but people will see and KNOW that your behavior is not fair 0 Rawls test to see ifwe understand fairness is ifwe see someone suffering and we are motivated to help them 0 Fairness means I understand your autonomy and vice versa 0 Problems that identify limits of Rawls society Reasonable people can disagree about what is reasonable creation v evolution Fanatics people who are willing to accept a practice even if that practice hurts them 0 Rawls ideal is for his work to steer us toward effective govt and how to step behind the veil of ignorance and behave as ifwe didn t have a vested interest Thomson 0 Great argument technique she takes prolife premise at its word but ends up showing how the perspective fails 0 1st premise fetus has right to life 0 2d premise pregnant woman has right to body but fetus right to life trumps hers 0 Even ifI grant a fetus has a right to life there are cases where that doesn t apply mother will die rapeincest kidnapped to save the violinist Might be gracious ofyou to bring violinist to term but you re under no obligation to violinist Violinist has right to life but not to use your body to do so failed contraception people seeds When would abortion be wrong When someone gave right to their body up surrogate and then reneged There is a lacuna gap in argument EXtreme view is that abortion is never ok even if having baby will kill mom Middle view there are exceptions such as rape or incest What about two people who have unprotected consensual seX and woman gets pregnant Thomson doesn t address this Generally we agree that if someone behaves carelessly that person has to take responsibility for it At that point the fetus DOES have a right to the woman s body The irony is that these are the last people we want to be mothers There are significant problems because of the lacuna ie it s the morning of an exam you ve studied you re ready you open front door and there s a baby in a basket on your step Call DCFS we ll get to you soon In this case you DO become involuntarily responsible to care for the baby Thomson s point is that there are implications regarding lawslegal obligation v moral obligation WI LEY BLACKWELL Tartar Authamav Hcm39y m mm WWW and mmmm Val 7 quota zm mmv mm W mm mmth by ammu Pubhshmg sumch 11 Jsluwxdsd AWSQQEE Armand HAM2w nu lenm m smmm manmm mm mum mm m swam vi us mlhbk u rmlmmmmgmmmgmm 1 mm In m swam vi us yrwdasmPtulummss mm ammdynmymsmwmmxym hum W unwarth zwpxsufmksm yml mm mm smmm memyusmlm Maw m mumht mmnm mm mmm mm W mmmmb mm mlmymmummmmmwmmm bbzk E duVEWf myhmnf szuxmsmmmnm 5m wwem lwaus mm saunde m ax Whmsm mun mm wummtmmd n msm mmde mhlwsfm39 mm 1me m mmnmmwmm mm mm mum Wynwmmm mum manusctlchymummn mm m dmvvuy mm vahsuesmuus Farm mmmm mkmkm WAMMW mg gmwrmmwu ammmmlsmkm dlan mm Mammuussm munw m HENRY SHUE Torture But no one dies in the right place Or in the right hour And everyone dies sooner than his time And before he reaches home Reza Baraheni Whatever one might have to say about torture there appear to be moral reasons for not saying it Obviously I am not persuaded by these reasons but they deserve some mention Mostly they add up to a sort of Pandora s Box objection if practically everyone is opposed to all torture why bring it up start people thinking about it and risk weak ening the inhibitions against what is clearly a terrible business Torture is indeed contrary to every relevant international law in cluding the laws of war No other practice except slavery is so uni versally and unanimously condemned in law and human convention Yet unlike slavery which is still most de nitely practiced but affects relatively few people torture is widespread and growing According to Amnesty International scores of governments are now using some torture including governments which are widely viewed as fairly civilized and a number of governments are heavily dependent upon torture for their very survival1 So to cut discussion of this objection short Pandora s Box is open Although virtually everyone continues ritualistically to condemn all torture publicly the deep conviction as re ected in actual policy is in many cases not behind the strong language In addition partial justi cations for some of the torture continue to circulate2 I See Amnesty International Report on Torture New York Farrar Straus and Giroux 1975 pp 2133 2 I primarily have in mind conversations which cannot be cited but for a written source see Roger Trinquier La Guerre Moderne Paris La Table Ronde Philosophy 8 Public Affairs 7 no 2 1978 by Princeton University Press 000483915 78 070201 24or oo 1 I 2 5 Torture One of the general contentions that keeps coming to the surface is since killing is worse than torture and killing is sometimes permitted especially in war we ought sometimes to permit torture especially when the situation consists of a protracted if undeclared war between a government and its enemies I shall try rst to show the weakness of this argument To establish that one argument for permitting some torture is unsuccessful is of course not to establish that no torture is to be permitted But in the remainder of the essay I shall also try to show far more interestingly that a comparison between some types of killing in combat and some types of torture actually provides an insight into an important respect in which much torture is morally worse This respect is the degree of satisfaction of the primitive moral prohibition against assault upon the defenseless Comprehending how torture violates this prohibition helps to explain and justify the peculiar disgust which torture normally arouses The general idea of the defense of at least some torture can be explained more fully using justcombat killing to refer to killing done in accord with all relevant requirements for the conduct of war fare3 The defense has two stages A Since 1 justcombat killing is total destruction of a person 2 torture is usually only partial destruction or tempo rary incapacitation of a person and 3 the total destruction of a person is a greater harm than the partial destruction of a person is then 4 justcombat killing is a greater harm than torture usu ally is 1961 pp 39 42 187191 Consider the following Et c est tricher que d admettre sereinement que l artillerie ou l aviation peuvent bombarder des villages on se trouvent des femmes et des enfants qui seront inutilement massacr s alors que le plus souvent les ennemis Vis s auront pu s enfuir et refuser que des sp cialistes en interrogeant un terroriste permettent de se saisir des vrais coupables et d pargner les innocents p 42 3 By just combat I mean warfare which satis es what has traditionally been called jus in 196110 the law governing how war may be fought once under way rather than jus ad bellum the law governing when war may be undertaken 126 Philosophy 6 Public Affairs B since 4 justcombat killing is a greater harm than torture usu ally is and 5 justcombat killing is sometimes morally permissible then 6 torture is sometimes morally permissible To state the argument one step at a time is to reveal its main weak ness Stage B tacitly assumes that if a greater harm is sometimes per missible then a lesser harm is too at least sometimes The mistake is to assume that the only consideration relevant to moral permissibility is the amount of harm done Even if one grants that killing someone in combat is doing him or her a greater harm than torturing him or her Stage A it by no means follows that there could not be a justi cation for the greater harm that was not applicable to the lesser harm Speci cally it would matter if some killing could satisfy other moral constraints besides the constraint of minimizing harm which no torture could satisfy4 A defender of at least some torture could however readily modify the last step of the argument to deal with the point that one cannot simply weigh amounts of harm against each other but must con sider other relevant standards as well by adding a nal quali cation 6 torture is sometimes morally permissible provided that it meets whichever standards are satis ed by justcombat killing If we do not challenge the judgment that justcombat killing is a greater harm than torture usually is the question to raise is Can tor ture meet the standards satis ed by justcombat killing If so that might be one reason in favor of allowing such torture If not torture will have been reaf rmed to be an activity of an extremely low moral order 4 Obviously one could also challenge other elements of the argument most notably perhaps premise 3 Torture is usually humiliating and degrading the pain is normally experienced naked and amidst lth But while killing destroys life it need not destroy dignity Which is worse an honorable death or a degraded existence While I am not unsympathetic with this line of attack I do not want to try to use it It su ers from being an attempt somehow just to intuit the relative degrees of evil attached respectively to death and degradation Such judgments should probably be the outcome rather than the starting point of an argument The rest of the essay bears directly on them 1 27 Torture ASSAULT UPON THE DEFENSELESS The laws of war include an elaborate and for the most part long established code for what might be described as the proper conduct of the killing of other people Like most codes the laws of war have been constructed piecemeal and different bits of the code serve differ ent functions5 It would almost certainly be impossible to specify any one unifying purpose served by the laws of warfare as a whole Surely major portions of the law serve to keep warfare within one sort of principle of ef ciency by requiring that the minimum destruction necessary to the attainment of legitimate objectives be used However not all the basic principles incorporated in the laws of war could be justi ed as serving the purpose of minimizing destruc tion One of the most basic principles for the conduct of war jus in hello rests on the distinction between combatants and noncombat ants and requires that insofar as possible violence not be directed at noncombatants6 Now obviously there are some conceptual dif culties 5 See James T Johnson Ideology Reason and the Limitation of War Religious and Secular Concepts 1200 1740 Princeton Princeton University Press 1975 Johnson stresses the largely religious origins of jus ad bellam and the largely secular origins of jus in hello 6 For the current law see Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 12 August 1949 1955 6 UST 3516 TIAS No 3365 75 UNTS 287 Also see United States Department of the Army The Law of Land Warfare Field Manual 2710 Washington Government Print ing Of ce 1956 Chap 5 Civilian Persons and United States Department of the Air Force International Law The Conduct of Armed Con ict and Air Operations Air Force Pamphlet 11031 Washington Government Printing Of ce 1976 Chap 3 Combatants Noncombatants and Civilians This Con vention was to be revised at a Geneva Conference in 1977 of considerable interest are the recommendations for greater protection of civilians advanced in Sub comm on International Organizations of the House Comm on Foreign Affairs 936 Cong 2d Sess 1974 Human Rights in the World Community A Call for US Leadership p 38 For the history see Johnson especially pp 3233 and 4246 although I am interested here in the justi cation which could be given for the principle today not the original justi cation insofar as it was different The prohibition against attack upon noncombatants is considered by some authorities to be fundamental See for example Jean Pictet The Principles of International Humanitarian Law Geneva International Committee of the Red Cross 1966 p 53 This general immunity of the civilian p0pulation has not 128 Phil030phy 7 Public Affairs in trying to separate combatants and noncombatants in some guerrilla warfare and even sometimes in modern conventional warfare among industrial societies This dif culty is a twoedged sword it can be used to argue that it is increasingly impossible fOr war to be fought justly as readily as it can be used to argue that the distinction between com batants and noncombatants is obsolete In any case I do not now want to defend or criticize the principle of avoiding attack upon non combatants but to isolate one of the more general moral principles this speci c principle of warfare serves It might be thought to serve for example a sort of efficiency princi ple in that it helps to minimize human casualties and suffering Normally the armed forces of the opposing nations constitute only a fraction of the respective total populations If the casualties can be restricted to these of cial ghters perhaps total casualties and suffer ing will be smaller than they would be if human targets were unre stricted But this justi cation for the principle of not attacking noncom batants does not ring true Unless one is determined a priori to explain everything in terms of minimizing numbers of casualties there is little reason to believe that this principle actually functions primarily to restrict the number of casualties rather than as its own terms sug gest the types of casualties7 A more convincing suggestion about the best justi cation which could be given is that the principle goes some way toward keeping combat humane by protecting those who are assumed to be incapable of defending themselves The principle of been clearly de ned in positive law but it remains in spite of many distortions the basis of the laws of war It is often assumed by others that the exigencies of a stable form of mutual assured destruction MAD make unavoidable the targeting of a nuclear deterrent on the enemy s civilian population and that therefore priority on avoidance of civilian casualties is impossible in nuclear war For a persuasive contrary View see Bruce M Russett Assured Destruction of What A Countercombatant Alternative to Nuclear MADness Public Policy 22 1974 121138 7 This judgment is supported by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute The Law of War and Dubious Weapons Stockholm AAlmqvist 8t Wik sell 1976 p 9 The prohibition on deliberately attacking the civilian popu lation as such is not based exclusively on the principle of avoiding unnecessary suffering I 29 Torture warfare is an instance of a more general moral principle which pro hibits assaults upon the defenseless8 Nonpaci sts who have re ned the international code for the con duct of warfare have not necessarily viewed the killing involved in war as in itself any less terrible than paci sts view it One funda mental function of the distinction between combatants and noncom batants is to try to make a terrible combat fair and the killing involved can seem morally tolerable to nonpaci sts in large part because it is the outcome of what is conceived as a fair procedure To the extent that the distinction between combatants and noncombatants is ob served those who are killed will be those who were directly engaged in trying to kill their killers The fairness may be perceived to lie in this fact that those who are killed had a reasonable chance to survive by killing instead It was kill or be killed for both parties and each had his or her opportunity to survive No doubt the opportunities may not have been anywhere near equal it would be impossible to restrict wars to equally matched opponents But at least none of the parties to the combat were defenseless Now this obviously invokes a simpli ed if not romanticized portrait of warfare And at least some aspects of the laws of warfare can legitimately be criticized for relying too heavily for their justi cation on a core notion that modern warfare retains aspects of a knightly joust or a duel which have long since vanished if ever they were present But the point now is not to attack or defend the ef cacy of the principle of warfare that combat is more acceptable morally if restricted to of cial combatants but to notice one of its moral bases which I am suggesting is that it allows for a fair ght by means of protecting the utterly defenseless from assault The resulting pic ture of war accurate or not is not of victim and perpetrator or of mutual victims but of a winner and a loser each of whom might have enjoyed or suffered the fate of the other Of course the satis faction of the requirement of providing for a fair ght would not by itself make a con ict morally acceptable overall An unprovoked and 8 To defend the bombing of cities in World War II on the ground that total casualties combatant and noncombatant were thereby reduced is to miss or ignore the point 130 Philosophy E Public A airs otherwise unjusti ed invasion does not become morally acceptable just because attacks upon noncombatants use of prohibited weapons and so on are avoided At least part of the peculiar disgust which torture evokes may be derived from its apparent failure to satisfy even this weak constraint of being a fair ght The supreme reason of course is that torture begins only after the ght is for the victim nished Only losers are tortured A fair ght may even in fact already have occurred and led to the capture of the person who is to be tortured But now that the torture victim has exhausted all means of defense and is powerless before the victors a fresh assault begins The surrender is followed by new attacks upon the defeated by the now unrestrained conquerors In this respect torture is indeed not analogous to the killing in battle of a healthy and well armed foe it is a cruel assault upon the defense less In combat the other person one kills is still a threat when killed and is killed in part for the sake of one s own survival The torturer inflicts pain and damage Upon another person who by virtue of now being Within his or her power is no longer a threat and is entirely at the torturer s mercy It is in this respect of violating the prohibition against assault upon the defenseless then that the manner in which torture is conducted is morally more reprehensible than the manner in which killing would occur if the laws of war were honored In this respect torture sinks below even the wellregulated mutual slaughter of a justly fought war TORTURE WITHIN CONSTRAINTS But is all torture indeed an assault upon the defenseless For it could be argued in support of some torture that in many cases there is some thing beyond the initial surrender which the torturer wants from the victim and that in such cases the victim could comply and provide the torturer with whatever is wanted To refuse to comply with the further demand would then be to maintain a second line of defense The vic tim would in a sense not have surrendered at least not fully sur rendered but instead only retreated The victim is not on this view utterly helpless in the face of unrestrainable assault as long as he or she holds in reserve an act of compliance which would satisfy the torturer and bring the torture to an end I 3 I Torture It might be proposed then that there could be at least one type of morally less unacceptable torture Obviously the torture victim must remain defenseless in the literal sense because it cannot be expected that his or her captors would provide means of defense against them selves But an alternative to a capability for a literal defense is an effective capability for surrender that is a form of surrender which will in fact bring an end to attacks In the case of torture the relevant form of surrender might seem to be a compliance with the wishes of the torturer that provides an escape from further torture Accordingly the constraint on the torture that would on this view make it less objectionable would be this the victim of torture must have available an act of compliance which if performed will end the torture In other words the purpose of the torture must be known to the victim the purpose must be the performance of some action within the victim s power to perform and the victim s performance of the desired action must produce the permanent cessation of the torture I shall refer to torture that provides for such an act of compliance as torture that satis es the constraint of possible compliance As soon becomes clear it makes a great difference what kind of act is pre sented as the act of compliance And a person with an iron will a great sense of honor or an overwhelming commitment to a cause may choose not to accept voluntarily cessation of the torture on the terms offered But the basic point would be merely that there should be some terms understood so that the victim retains one last portion of control over his or her fate Escape is not defense but it is a manner of pro tecting oneself A practice of torture that allows for escape through compliance might seem immune to the charge of engaging in assault upon the defenseless Such is the proposal One type of contemporary torture however is clearly incapable of satisfying the constraint of possible compliance The extraction of information from the victim which perhaps whatever the deepest motivations of torturers may have been has historically been a dominant explicit purpose of torture is now in world practice over shadowed by the goal of the intimidation of people other than the victim9 Torture is in many countries used primarily to intimidate potential opponents of the government from actively expressing their 9 See Amnesty International 69 132 Philosophy lt9 Public Affairs opposition in any form considered objectionable by the regime Pro hibited forms of expression range among various regimes from participation in terroristic guerrilla movements to the publication of accurate news accounts The extent of the suffering in icted upon the victims of the torture is proportioned not according to the responses of the victim but according to the expected impact of news of the torture upon other people over whom the torture victim normally has no control The function of general intimidation of others or deter rence of dissent is radically different from the function of extracting speci c information under the control of the victim of torture in respects which are central to the assessment of such torture This is naturally not to deny that any given instance of torture may serve to varying degrees both purposes and indeed other purposes still Terroristic torture as we may call this dominant type cannot sat isfy the constraint of possible compliance because its purpose intimi dation of persons other than the victim of the torture cannot be accomplished and may not even be capable of being in uenced by the victim of the torture The victim s suffering indeed the victim is being used entirely as a means to an end over which the victim has no control Terroristic torture is a pure case the purest possible case of the violation of the Kantian principle that no person may be used only as a means The victim is simply a site at which great pain occurs so that others may know about it and be frightened by the prospect The torturers have no particular reason not to make the suffering as great and as extended as possible Quite possibly the more terrible the torture the more intimidating it will be this is certainly likely to be believed to be so Accordingly one ought to expect extensions into the sorts of ex perimentation and other barbarities documented recently in the cases of for example the Pinochet government in Chile and the Amin government in Uganda10 Terroristic torturers have no particular rea son not to carry the torture through to the murder of the victim 10 See United Nations General Assembly Report of the Economic and Social Council Protection of Human Rights in Chile UN Document A 31 253 8 Octo ber 1976 3ISt Session p 97 and Uganda and Human Rights Reports to the UN Commission on Human Rights Geneva International Commission of Jur ists 1977 p 118 I 3 3 Torture provided the victim s family or friends can be expected to spread the word about the price of any conduct compatible with disloyalty There fore terroristic torture clearly cannot satisfy even the extremely mild constraint of providing for the possibility of compliance by its victim11 The degree of need for assaults upon the defenseless initially ap pears to be quite different in the case of torture for the purpose of extracting information which we may call interrogational torture1L2 This type of torture needs separate examination because however condemnable we ought in the end to consider it overall its purpose of gaining information appears to be consistent with the observation of some constraint on the part of any torturer genuinely pursuing that purpose alone Interrogational torture does have a builtin endpoint when the information has been obtained the torture has accomplished its purpose and need not be continued Thus satisfaction of the con straint of possible compliance seems to be quite compatible with the explicit end of interrogational torture which could be terminated upon the victim s compliance in providing the information sought II A further source of arbitrariness is the fact that there is in addition no natural limit on the appropriate targets of terroristic torture since the victim does not need to possess any speci c information or to have done anything in particular except possibly to have acted suspiciously Even the latter is not necessary if the judgment is made as it apparently was by the Nazis that random terror will be the most effective It has been suggested that there might be a category of deserved terroristic torture conducted only after a fair trial had established the guilt of the torture victim for some heinous crime A fair procedure for determining who is to be tortured would transform the torture into a form of deterrent punishment doubtless a cruel and unusual one Such torture would stand only with a general deterrent theory of punishment according to which who is punished depends upon guilt but how much he or she is punished depends upon supposed deterrent effects I would think that any nding that terroristic torture could be tted within a deterrent theory of punishment provided the torture was preceded by a fair trial could cut either way and would be at least as plausible a reason for rejecting the general theory as it would be for accepting the particular case of terroristic torture But I will not pursue this because I am not aware of any current practice of reserving torture as the sentence for people after they are convicted by a trial with the usual safeguards Torture customarily precedes any semblance of a trial One can of course imagine various sorts of torture other than the two common kinds discussed here 12 These two categories of torture are not intended to be and are not exhaustive See previous note 134 Philosophy lt9 Public Affairs In a fairly obvious fashion the torturer could consider himself or herself to have completed the assigned task or probably more hope fully any superiors who were supervising the process at some emo tional distance could consider the task to be nished and put a stop to it A pure case of interrogational torture then appears able to sat isfy the constraint of possible compliance since it offers an escape in the form of providing the information wanted by the torturers which affords some protection against further assault Two kinds of dif culties arise for the suggestion that even largely interrogational torture could escape the charge that it includes assaults upon the defenseless It is hardly necessary to point out that very few actual instances of torture are likely to fall entirely within the category of interrogational torture Torture intended primarily to obtain infor mation is by no means always in practice held to some minimum nec essary amount To the extent that the torturer s motivation is sadistic or otherwise brutal he or she will be strongly inclined to exceed any rational calculations about what is sufficient for the stated purpose In view of the strength and nature of a torturer s likely passionsof for example hate and selfhate disgust and selfdisgust horror and fascination subservience toward superiors and aggression toward victims no constraint is to be counted upon in practice Still it is of at least theoretical interest to ask whether torturers with a genuine will to do so could conduct interrogational torture in a man ner which would satisfy the constraint of possible compliance In order to tell it is essential to grasp speci cally what compliance would normally involve Almost all torture is political in the sense that it is in icted by the government in power upon people who are seem to be or might be opposed to the government Some torture is also in icted by opponents of a government upon people who are seem to be or might be supporting the government Possible victims of torture fall into three broad categories the ready collaborator the innocent by stander and the dedicated enemy First the torturers may happen upon someone who is involved with the other side but is not dedicated to such a degree that cooperation with the torturers would from the victim s perspective constitute a betrayal of anything highly valued For such a person a betrayal of cause and allies might indeed serve as a form of genuine escape 1 3 5 Torture The second possibility is the capture of someone who is passive toward both sides and essentially uninvolved If such a bystander should happen to know the relevant information which is very un likely and to be willing to provide it no torture would be called for But what if the victim would be perfectly willing to provide the infor mation sought in order to escape the torture but does not have the information Systems of torture are notoriously incompetent The usual situation is captured with icy accuracy by the reputed informal motto of the Saigon police If they are not guilty beat them until they are 13 The victims of torture need an escape not only from beat ings for what they know but also from beatings for what they do not know In short the victim has no convincing way of demonstrating that he or she cannot comply even when compliance is impossible Compare the reputed dunking test for witches if the woman sank she was an ordinary mortal Even a torturer who would be willing to stop after learning all that could be learned which is nothing at all if the wrong person is being tortured would have dif culty discriminating among pleas Any keep ing of the tacit bargain to stop when compliance has been as complete as possible would likely be undercut by uncertainty about when the fullest possible compliance had occurred The dif culty of demonstrat ing that one had collaborated as much as one could might in fact haunt the collaborator as well as the innocent especially if his or her collaboration had struck the torturers as being of little real value Finally when the torturers succeed in torturing someone genuinely committed to the other side compliance means in a word betrayal betrayal of one s ideals and one s comrades The possibility of be trayal cannot be counted as an escape Undoubtedly some ideals are vicious and some friends are partners in crime this can be true of either the government the opposition or both Nevertheless a betrayal is no escape for a dedicated member of either a government or its op position who cannot collaborate without denying his or her highest values 13 Amnesty International 166 I4 Defenders of privilege customarily portray themselves as defenders of civilization against the vilest barbarians Self deception sometimes further smooths the way to treating whoever are the current enemies as beneath con 136 Philosogohy 8 Public Affairs For any genuine escape must be something better than settling for the lesser of two evils One can always try to minimize one s losses even in dilemmas from which there is no real escape But if accepting the lesser of two evils always counted as an escape there would be no situations from which there was no escape except perhaps those in which all alternatives happened to be equally evil On such a loose notion of escape all conscripts would become volunteers since they could always desert And all assaults containing any alternatives would then be acceptable An alternative which is legitimately to count as an escape must not only be preferable but also itself satisfy some minimum standard of moral acceptability A denial of one s self does not count Therefore on the whole the apparent possibility of escape through compliance tends to melt away upon examination The ready collab orator and the innocent bystander have some hope of an acceptable escape but only provided that the torturers both a are persuaded that the victim has kept his or her part of the bargain by telling all there is to tell and b choose to keep their side of the bargain in a situation in which agreements cannot be enforced upon them and they have nothing to lose by continuing the torture if they please If one is treated as if one is a dedicated enemy as seems likely to be the standard procedure the fact that one actually belongs in another category has no effect On the other hand the dedicated enemies of the torturers who presumably tend to know more and consequently are the primary intended targets of the torture are provided with nothing which can be considered an escape and can only protect them tempt and certainly unworthy of equal respect as human beings Consequently I am reluctant to concede even as a limiting case that there are probably rare individuals so wicked as to lack integrity or anyway to lack any integrity worthy of respect But what sort of integrity could one have violated by torturing Hitler Any very slight quali cation here must not however be taken as a inging wide Open of the doors To be beyond the pale in the relevant respect must involve far more than simply serving values which the torturers nd abhorrent Otherwise license has been granted simply to torture Whoever are one s greatest enemies the only victims very many torturers would want in any case Un fortunately I cannot see a way to delimit those who are genuinely beyond the pale which does not beg for abuse 1 37 Torture selves as torture victims always have by pretending to be collabora tors or innocents and thereby imperiling the members of these two categories MORALLY PERMISSIBLE TORTURE Still it must reluctantly be admitted that the avoidance of assaults upon the defenseless is not the only or even in all cases an overriding moral consideration And therefore even if terroristic and interroga tional torture each in its own way is bound to involve attacks upon people unable to defend themselves or to escape it is still not utterly inconceivable that instances of one or the other type of torture might sometimes all things considered be justi ed Consequently we must sketch the elements of an overall assessment of these two types of torture beginning again with the dominant contemporary form terroristic Anyone who thought an overall justi cation could be given for an episode of terroristic torture would at the least have to provide a clear statement of necessary conditions all of which would have to be satis ed before any actions so extraordinarily cruel as terroristic torture could be morally acceptable If the torture were actually to be justi ed the conditions would of course have to be met in fact An attempt to specify the necessary conditions for a morally permissible episode of terroristic torture might include conditions such as the following A rst necessary condition would be that the purpose actually being sought through the torture would need to be not only morally good but supremely important and examples of such purposes would have to be selected by criteria of moral importance which would themselves need to be justi ed Second terroristic torture would presumably have to be the least harmful means of accomplishing the supremely im portant goal Given how very harmful terroristic torture is this could rarely be the case And it would be unlikely unless the period of use of the torture in the society was limited in an enforceable manner Third it would have to be absolutely clear for what purpose the terror istic torture was being used what would constitute achievement of that purpose and thus when the torture would end The torture could I38 PhilOSOphy for Public Affairs not become a standard practice of government for an inde nite dura tion And so on But is there any supremely important end to which terroristic tor ture could be the least harmful means Could terroristic torture be employed for a brief interlude and then outlawed Consider what would be involved in answering the latter question A government could it might seem terrorize until the terror had accomplished its purpose and then suspend the terror There are few if any clear cases of a regime s voluntarily renouncing terror after having created through terror a situation in which terror was no longer needed And there is considerable evidence of the improbability of this sequence Terroristic torture tends to become according to Amnesty Interna tional administrative practice a routine procedure institutionalized into the method of governing15 Some bureaus collect taxes other bureaus conduct torture First a suspect is arrested next he or she is tortured Torture gains the momentum of an ingrained element of a standard Operating procedure Several factors appear to point in the direction of permanence From the perspective of the victims even where the population does I5 I am assuming the unrestrained character of terroristic torture as it is actually practiced Besides the general study by Amnesty International cited above and below Amnesty International regularly issues studies of individual countries Of particular interest perhaps is Report on Allegations of Torture in Brazil 3d ed London Amnesty International Publications 1976 The Com mittee on International Relations of the United States House of Representatives has published during 19751977 extensive hearings on torture in dozens of countries And other nongovernmental organizations such as the International Commission of Jurists and the International League for Human Rights have published careful accounts of the nature of the torture practiced in various particular countries I believe that the category of terroristic torture used in this article is an accurate re ection of a very high proportion of the actual cases of contemporary torture It would be tedious to document this here but see for example Amnesty International pp 21 26 103 199 Nevertheless it can be granted that terroristic torture is not necessarily un restrained It is conceivable for torture to fail to be constrained by the responses of its victim but to be subject to other constraints to use brutality of only a certain degree to conduct torture of unlimited or limited brutality but for only a limited time to select victims who deserve it compare note II etc I have not discussed such a category of constrained terroristic torture because I believe it to be empty for very good psychological and political reasons On the methodological question here see the concluding paragraphs of this article I 3 9 Torture not initially feel exploited terror is very unsuitable to the generation of loyalty This would add to the dif culty of any transition away from reliance on terror Where the population does feel exploited even be fore the torture begins the sense of outrage which is certainly ration ally justi ed toward the choice of victims as we have seen could often prove stronger than the fear of suffering Tragically any unlike lihood that the terroristic torture would work would almost guaran tee that it would continue to be used From the perspective of the torturers it is rare for any entrenched bureau to choose to eliminate itself rather than to try to prove its essential value and the need for its own expansion This is especially likely if the members of the opera tion are either thoroughly cynical or thoroughly sincere in their con viction that they are protecting national security or some other value taken to be supremely important The greater burden of proof rests I would think on anyone who believes that controllable terroristic torture is possible Rousseau says at one point that pure democracy is a system of government suitable only for angels ordinary mortals cannot handle it If Rousseau s assumption is that principles for human beings can not ignore the limits of the capacity of human beings he is surely right This would mean that political philosophy often cannot be entirely nonempirical As devilish as terroristic torture is in a sense it too may be a technique only for angels perhaps only angels could use it within the only constraints which would make it permissible and then lay it aside The partial list of criteria for the acceptable use of terroristic torture sketched above in combination with strong evidence of the uncontrollability of terroristic torture would come as close to a reductio ad absurdum as one could hope to produce in political philosophy Observance of merely the constraints listed would require a degree of selfcontrol and selfrestraint individual and bureaucratic which might turn out to be saintly If so terroristic torture would have been shown to be justi able only if it could be kept within constraints within which it could almost certainly not be kept But if the nal objection against terroristic torture turned out to be empirical evidence that it is probably uncontrollable would not the philosophical arguments themselves turn out to have been irrelevant