Torture Is It Ever Ethical Mill and Kant Theories

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Law

Document 1

Mill and Kant are examples of influential moral; philosophers whose theories have been used to support or question the morality of torture. Mill’s utilitarian theory is based on the “principle of utility” which asserts that the rightfulness of an action depends on the proportion of happiness they tend to bring and the wrongfulness of an act depends on the fraction of reversed happiness it brings along (Kelly, 2015). Happiness in this context refers to the presence of pleasure without pain. According to Mill, morality is solely grounded in happiness and that human being will never desire any other thing in their lives other than happiness. He further supports this argument by stating that all other entities that people desire are either included in the definition of happiness or are a means to happiness (Kelly, 2015). Therefore, according to Mill, the act of justice is purely based on the principle of utility and that this is the only reason why human rights have been formulated because they are essential to fulfilling happiness. Kant, on the other hand, formulated his theory of moral reasoning based on the concept of a categorical imperative. He formulated this concept to offer the set of requirements a motivation (maxim) must pass through for an action to be regarded as a moral obligation (Sullivan, (n. d. Once a categorical imperative situation is created, it becomes an individual's moral duty to carry out an action under any situation. According to Kant, when performing such an action, a person's main motive should be solely based on duty because an individual is capable of interpreting what his or her duty is based on reason.

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Kant asserts that human beings are differentiated from animals based on their ability to reason and thus humanity must be involved in morality. According to Kant, the reason is unbiased and universal for humanity and this is a rational and steadfast foundation for moral philosophy. Kant's categorical imperative is defined based on three interpretations (Sullivan, (n. d. The first interpretation is known as the "law of Nature" which asserts that individuals should act solely based on the maxim that could be universalized. This formulation instructs individuals to universalize a principle without inconsistencies, failure to which an act can be considered immoral because it contradicts reason. Without universalism, some people may feel uncomfortable and freedom restrained acting from the same moral principles and according to Kant, freedom, and autonomy are very critical to being a moral agent.

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The second interpretation “End in Itself” ensures that an individual never treats others or him or herself simply as a means but at all times as an end. According to Kant, the act of treating someone merely as a means to some other end is an exploitation to their reasoning, yet people are expected to value one another as rational beings (Sullivan, (n. Therefore, he would conclude that one who decides not to use torture makes an acceptable ethical decision concerning their activities irrespective of the tragic consequences that may follow. Kant’s evidence would be based on the notions of universal humanity and rudimentary human rights which generates two widespread laws applicable to the ethical concerns of torture. The first rule asserts that individuals should take actions as if the axiom of their actions were by their willpower to become the common rule of nature.

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The second rule, on the other hand, requires individuals to take actions such that a manner that they give humankind, whether in their own self or in that of another, at all times as an end and never as a means exclusively. Based on the first law, torture is unjustifiable because people would not receive it being universalized and probably used against themselves. Harris’s mode of moral reasoning to justify torture is flawed by the fact that it poses challenges when analyzing the ethics of torture from a single entity perspective. Would it be ethically justifiable to torture 99 individuals just in an attempt to save 100 other people? Also, by justifying torture under certain circumstances, there are likely to be universal consequences for the inviolability of human rights. Moreover, the act of torture prevents a very ‘slippery slope' in which the act of torture could be extended from just a one occasion activity to a daily incident as in the case of Palestinian terror suspect case.

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Therefore, the concept that it could be applied to specific circumstances is questionable. Charles Fried and Gregory Fried argue in their book that torture is profoundly immoral because it infringes on human dignity and respect. He claims that torture has always been used on suspicious suspects to protect the lives of the innocent. Dershowitz has emerged as the most powerful defender of ‘enhanced measures’ of torture. He claims that a public turmoil could erupt in in countries that failed to implement all the critical measures needed to avert terrorist attacks. This argument could be the reason why the application of ‘coercive' interrogative methods has increased in the U. S since the September, 11 terrorist attacks. The arguments from the above authors could be related and compared to the mode of moral reasoning applied by Mill and Kant.

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Harris applies a consequentialist type of moral reasoning that seeks to establish a maximum benefit to the greatest number of people. Mill would most likely strongly support Harris's argument because he the consequences of torturing a terror suspect would tend to give the greatest happiness as it saves the lives of millions. Charles and Gregory apply deontological type of moral reasoning in which seeks to establish standard guidelines determining the ethicality of human deeds. Kant would likely support their argument because seeking to maintain a country's dignity and identity relates to the act of failing to contradict the universalized standards of the nation. Retrieved from https://www. huffingtonpost. com/sam-harris/in-defense-of-torture_b_8993. html Siegel, R. September 10). php?storyId=5512634 Sullivan, R.  J. n. d. The Categorical Imperative.

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Document 2

Sociologists are torn between the old theories of morality. Which one is more desirable? While you ponder on this, let us reflect on the moral debate surrounding torture; the inflicting of a bodily harm to suspected criminals to make them reveal all they know about a crime. What is the stance of ancient morality? Do new moral scientists offer a solution? Moral Theories on torturing: Kant and Mill Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a German is among the old moral philosophers of the ancient past living in the ripe 18th century (Golob & Jens, 2017). In “Critique of Pure Reason”, Kant argues that morality should be abiding by some stipulated rules of judgment opposing his predecessor’s stipulation that morality should be judged on the consequences of an action. To be sure, Kant was opposed to Aristotelian ethics that morality should be doing the thing that brings happiness to the greatest number of people involved (Golob & Jens, 2017). Kant’s ethics have gone in history to be called, categorical imperative theory, imperative because beings have to conform as a “must” to a set of rules. The Categorical Imperative (CI) was characterized by Kant as actions that can be defined as an objective, as well as being necessary, when looked at rationally, which mean that there should be unconditional principles that people must always follow despite the existence of the natural desires that people may develop to the contrary. Kant believed that all the objective moral requirements are consequently justified by this principle. Such meant that all the immoral actions become irrational due to the main reason that they violate the Categorical Imperative.

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Kant believed that a person can be judged to be good or bad depending on the main motives for the action, but not on the consequences that are accrued after undertaking these actions. This earned his ethics the name “utilitarianism (Golob & Jens, 2017). ” John Stuart Mill is an Utilitarian philosopher, had the main belief that moral or ethical decisions should be made on the grounds of deriving the greatest goods for the largest number. It basically meant that intentions or actions that would maximize on the pleasure as well as the satisfaction of the people while at the same time, the action minimizes the negativity in the affluence which is at most times referred to as the Ultimate Importance. In this respect, Utilitarianism can also be well compared to the deontological ethics, these do not take the consequences of the account or action as being a determination.

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From Stuart’s view, it would be obvious that he would fully support the idea of adverse interrogation techniques as well as torture on various suspects. On the other hand, to Harris, if one can comfortably produce any form of ethical argument that is against torturing an individual, then, this makes the person not to have an argument against the use of torture at all. However, Kant would ask him in German, “Mein Freund, können Sie nicht sehen, welches Gesetz jemals erlaubt hat, Leiden oder sogar Tod zuzufügen” meaning “My Friend, can’t you see, which law ever permitted inflicting suffering or even death?” Kant would disagree with Sam on the ground that Sam is violating the law that has to be observed in the latter (Harris, 2011). In another instance, Charles Fried a Harvard Law Professor with his son Gregory Fried of Suffolk tend to take side with Immanuel Kant.

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They go in history to narrate how the noble fathers of America; the Lincolns and Washingtons advised soldiers not to inflict torture to the enemy, lest it will take away the dignity of the great nation, America. They advise that no torture should ever be inflicted to a criminal whatever crimes they have committed. As time goes by, research and policy will usher neutrality that everybody will like and perhaps, justify torture or wholly oppose it. Works Cited Block, Melissa, and Robert, Siegel. Because It Is Wrong': A Meditation On Torture’. A Meditation on Torture with Charles and Gregory Fried. NPR Post. In Defense of Torture. The HuffPost Magazine. Updated May 25, 2011). Print. Available at: https://www. Print. Available at: https://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=5512634 as at 0843 hrs.

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