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To Torture or Not to Torture

To Torture or Not to Torture

To Torture or Not to Torture

Note: In order to fulfill this assignment, you need to have read chapters 5�7, 14 from the Holmes text.

Ethics Approaching Moral Decisions.

ISDN 978-0-8308-2803-6

Note: In order to fulfill this assignment, you need to have read the Group Discussion Board Forum 2
Instructions and the following chapters from Holmes: chs. 4�7, 14. If you have not done so, please stop
and read that material.

For your thread, post an answer to the question:

“Should they torture the prisoner?” employing the two points below. Remember your initial thread must be
a minimum of 350 words:

From your understanding of Holmes� discussions, explain how each of the following theories might
answer the question: utilitarianism, Kantian duty-based ethics, virtue ethics, and Christian-principle based
Select the theory you think is the appropriate one to take in this case and explain why.

To Torture or Not to Torture

To start, many people will agree that this subject is considerably delicate for exploration.
Regardless of if morally justified or necessary, torture has never been too easy for there to be a

solid answer. Always, values play a cardinal role when it comes to debates like this one. This can
be explored from four perspectives; virtue ethics, utilitarianism perspective, Christian-principle
based ethical perspective, and Kantian duty-based ethics.
If looking at torture from the utilitarian perspective, this would involve assessing the
various torture issues and determining if they fit their right or good’s description. For example, if
torturing a minute group of individuals would save thousands or hundreds of others, then a
utilitarian would consider this to be a good thing as opposed to torture. Therefore, whenever
cases arise where some people are needed to be tortured so that many others can be saved, a
utilitarian would permit it (Shute, 2013). On the other hand, the Kantian duty-based ethics can
basically assess if someone is fulfilling the duties from the higher command. There would be no
consideration of if the person was made to feel bad, so long as the duties got fulfilled, and that
was the proper thing to do.
It is worth pointing out that the virtue ethics adopts an approach that is very similar to the
Kantian duty-based ethics (Shute, 2013). Nonetheless, there is a keener focus on the feelings of
the person, as opposed to the motives. Following the virtue ethics approach, one would normally
enjoy them while torturing is going on, and it is believed that this is meant for personal gain
(Park, 2014). Therefore, in case a person is carrying out the torture based on the love he or she
has for the culture or country, then such a person is justified.
Following the Christian-principle ethical point-of-view, the torture subject is situational.
All Christians are required to adhere to the principles of honoring God as well as sharing His
love and care for all humanity and other creatures. Therefore, torturing is not precisely the way
someone should use to describe love from the Christian perspective. In the bible, issues like

killing for self-defense have been mentioned, but none of these issues ever brought up torture.
However, sometimes, God utilizes torture without even being aware about it (Holmes, 1984).
I would assert that the Christian-principle based ethics is the most appropriate theory. I
have a strong feeling that all people have a call and obligation of leading Christian lives.
Moreover, torture can never be the answer. According to the biblical teachings and instructions,
people are called to lead based on the standards set by God, and according to the path that Jesus
laid as an example (Allan, 2013). Rather than torturing prisoners, regardless of whether
information is being sought from them or not, other ways can be used such as demonstrating the
great love God has for them. This might make them guilty and later they may reveal whatever
information is being sought. There are many ways through which love can be demonstrated.
Therefore, torture is never an option. It is also worth pointing out that this topic is very sensitive,
and therefore, there is a great need to handle it with a lot of caution.



Allan, A. (2013). Ethics in Correctional and Forensic Psychology: Getting the Balance Right.
Australian Psychologist, 48, 1, 47-56.
Holmes, A. F. (1984). Ethics, approaching moral decisions. Downers Grove, Ill., U.S.A:
InterVarsity Press.
Park, R. (2014). The reappeared: Argentine former political prisoners.
Shute, S. (2013). On The Outside Looking In: Reflections on the Role of Inspection in Driving
Up Quality in the Criminal Justice System. The Modern Law Review, 76, 3, 494-528.

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