Torture: When the Unthinkable Is Morally Permissible

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Argues that there are moral grounds to use torture where the lives of the innocent are at stake.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This brief, highly readable book makes the moral case for the use of torture, developing arguments along both philosophical and pragmatic fronts ... There is a lot to disagree with in this book, but it is a must read for students and scholars wishing to engage the torture debate. Excellent for collections on ethics, law, terrorism, and criminal justice.— CHOICE

"Bagaric and Clarke offer a forthright defense of a practice whose proponents often resort to euphemism."— New York Times Book Review

"I like several things about this book-first and foremost the courage of the authors. I know that the positions they have taken have been lambasted by many, often in a personal attack. I happen to disagree with much that has been said in the book. But I do believe they should be allowed to state their position. Many civil libertarians argue that to even debate the validity of torture is reprehensible-that there are some issues that should not be debated, like genocide, slavery, and...torture."— Marcy Strauss, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles

"Among this book's many virtues is the way in which the book avoids tangents and drives relentlessly onward in making its points. It is a controversial, provocative, and important book."— John T. Parry, Lewis & Clark Law School"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791471531
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2007
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

At Deakin University in Australia, Mirko Bagaric is Professor of Law and Julie Clarke is Lecturer in Law. Bagaric’s books include How to Live: Being Happy and Dealing with Moral Dilemmas and Clarke’s include (with P. Clarke and N. Courmadias) Butterworths Casebook Companions-Contract Law.

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Overview of the Torture Debate

2. Torture: Reality and Legal Position

3. The Moral Status of Torture

4. The Slippery Slope Illusion

5. Life-saving Torture Is a Humane Practice

6.Torture Is Effective

7. Torture Is not Antidemocratic

8. The Real Divide: Where Responsibility Starts and Ends

9. Why the Torture Debate Really Matters (And Why a “Meta-analysis” of the Torture Debate Supports Our Argument)

10. Conclusion: The End Justifies the Means


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