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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 29, Issue 2, Fall 2015

Ross W. Bellaby
Pages 177-190

The Ethics of Torture-Lite
A Justifiable Middle-Ground?

Torture-lite has been advanced as a new form of interrogation that raises the prospect of offering a more ethical way of colleting the intelligence needed to protect the state. However, this paper will argue that there can be no such thing as torture-lite as this misunderstands what interrogational torture is in the first place. Interrogational torture is a form of behavioural modification that relies on breaking the individual and conditioning their responses. Torture-lite would never be able to create the self-betraying effect necessary for cases such as the ticking time bomb scenario without crossing over into the higher harms caused by full torture, and is unable to force the individual to provide the required information to serve as the good in the consequentialist argument.

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