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Paper 1 - Hannah Fisher Anabella-Gab Zagura PHIL 163 001 8...

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Hannah Fisher Anabella-Gab Zagura PHIL 163 001 8 February 2008 The Ethics of Torture At some point throughout life, a person may be faced with the responsibility of making a decision that greatly impacts the lives of others. One such situation is capturing a suspected terrorist. In this scenario there is a 50% chance that the suspect is a terrorist, and a 50% chance he is innocent. If he is severely tortured there is a 50% chance of obtaining information that would save 10,000 people through the prevention of a terrorist attack. When in this position, an act-utilitarian would be likely to encourage you to torture the suspected terrorist in hopes of obtaining information that would maximize the general well-being of society. According to this theory, an action is morally right if, and only if, it maximizes well-being. Although there is only a 50% chance that the person you have captured is a terrorist, the fact you also have a 50% chance of saving the lives of 10,000 takes precedence. The viewpoint of act-utilitarianism is complicated by the fact that one must first predict all possible consequences before making a final decision. In this scenario, one must consider and weigh the consequences of torturing an innocent person as well as the consequences of torturing an actual terrorist. If the person is tortured and they turn out to be innocent, well-being will be decreased by harming this individual as well as spreading the fear that other innocent people may also be wrongly tortured by authoritative figures. In contrast, if this person is tortured and they are, in fact,
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Paper 1 - Hannah Fisher Anabella-Gab Zagura PHIL 163 001 8...

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