A moral understanding of Utilitarianism and torture Essay

1234 Words 5 Pages
Aaron Casas
Philosophy 003
Professor Reath
February 26th, 2012 A Moral Understanding of Utilitarianism and Torture KSM is a mastermind terrorist who has been captured by the CIA. He refuses to reveal any information about his organization or the members thereof that could be fundamental to the welfare of hundreds of lives. Even under the presence of coercive methods such as sleep deprivation and water boarding, he has refused to talk. His nine and eleven year old children have been brought into custody and a suggestion has been made to torture the children. Is the option ethical or moral in any sense? Utilitarianism provides two answers for the question; one asserting the general rule of utility, the other expanding on
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Therefore utilitarianism does advocate for the torture of KSM’s children. The tactic will provide the necessary information that the CIA needs to save lives. The proponents of utilitarianism may come off as rash, insensitive, and unsympathetic beings for allowing a method such as this one to occur in order to save many lives. Injuring two lives for the benefit of thousands more is sound, but may not be ethical or moral. It is a difficult feat to assess what is ethical and moral especially when encountered with a situation like this. An assumption that it is immoral to not torture these children could be proposed because not acting on the children could deter the CIA from attaining valuable information for the welfare and safety of the nation. Of course, it must not be assumed that torturing a child is acceptable in today’s standards, and utilitarianism will attempt to answer why it is not right to torture the children to obtain information through the utilitarian’s understanding of justice. Justice to utilitarianism carries with it great weight and resonance to the ideology. According to Mill, it is one of the sole features in which utilitarianism embodies. It is stated that justice contains in it the following rules: all beings must be treated with equality, and that each is given their just deserts; good for good, and evil for evil, that no one should be wrongly punished; that no life shall be valued

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