To torture or not to torture


To Torture or Not to Torture

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 ethics.Select the theory you think is the most appropriate to take in this case and explain why.For your reply, locate a member of your group with whom you disagree and tell him/her why you disagree with at least 200 words. The disagreement could be over which view he/she took or his/her understanding of the other views.

Sample paper

To torture or not to torture

Part 1

Despite torture being legally and morally wrong, there are some people and regions that still practice torture.  Torture can be described as any kind of action or practice of influencing pain on a person as a way or punishing them or forcing them to submit. Torture of any kind is always considered inhuman and unethical to some extent, but in other situations the application of torture becomes legal (Wisnewski & Emerick, 2009). Holmes gives four ways through which an individual can interpret torture to make them suit personal situations and needs.  These ways are as follows:

  1. Utilitarianism – the utilitarian thinks and believes that once torture has been used for a single person or a fraction of the whole population, it is better used for the whole population for equality and the greater good of the society. Moreover, this theory states that activities and actions of an individual are right as long as they promote happiness but are wrong in case they are promote reverse happiness. As a result, if torture is poised to bring happiness, then it is ethical to them, but if it will result in unhappiness, it is unethical.
  2. Kantian duty-based ethics – this theory proposes that individuals are only allowed to use torture as a last resort. If a person utilizes all other possible means with no positive response, then it is ethically right to use torture to gain what he or she is looking for. Notably, it is also correct to state that this theory is far much concerned with the rightness of the action carried out rather than the consequences of the actions and that is the reason why it the theory feels that it is ethical to use torture.

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  1. Virtue ethics – this theory states that it all goes down to individual instincts, ethics, and moral principles. Thus, the actions of torture cannot be justified as right or wrong. In this theory, individual character is paramount to ethical and moral thinking rather than the rules and regulations put in place to govern individual actions and behavior. When a person feels it is ethical to torture another human being he or she can go on but if they feel it in unethical, they can put a stop to the torture, but in both cases, they will not be judged (Griffin, 2010).
  2. Christian-principle based ethics – this principle totally prohibits the use of torture despite the situation and circumstances o the moral and ethical background of individuals. Considering Christians uses the Bible as the basis of their behavior, there is nowhere in the bible that torture is given an option and thus, torture should never be used by Christians.

Part 2

Considering all perspective and matters, in this matter, I feel that Utilitarianism will be the right theory to employ and get the important information that can lead to saving of millions of lives. Ethically and morally, the lives of thousands and millions of people matter a lot compared to the well-being of a single individual who is willing to risk their lives. As a result, I feel that using all means possible to extract information even if it means torturing the terrorist will be accepted.  Torturing a person for the greater good should be ethically and morally accepted and not rebuked. By saving their lives, it means greater happiness for the majority rather than waiting for the attacks which would mean happiness in reverse for many.


Griffin, J. (2010). What Should We Do about Torture? Ethics and Humanity, 3-18. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325195.003.0001

Wisnewski, J., & Emerick, R. D. (2009). The ethics of torture. London: Continuum.


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