Just torture and aftercare

Fox, R.Steven (2023). Just torture and aftercare. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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This thesis stakes the claim that some forms of coercive interrogation, also called interrogational torture, are morally justified under extreme circumstances for the defence of innocent persons and the institutions of liberal democracy. I go on to assert that persons harshly interrogated, and the interrogators, are rightfully offered compensatory care based on harm experienced as a result of defensive interrogation.
The thesis is divided in two chapters. The first addresses the moral justification for some forms of torture under limited circumstances, what limits should be placed on them, and who is liable to harsh interrogation. The second chapter outlines a theory of aftercare for those involved with torture.
My theoretical approach to just torture draws on the Just War Tradition and the works of Shunzo Majima and Uwe Steinhoff. To reach an ethics of just torture, or coercive interrogation, I consider objections from James Griffin, Henry Shue, Jeff McMahan, and David Sussman. I demonstrate how these objections can be overcome or set aside.
Examinations of two justifications of torture in the scenarios of the ‘ticking bomb’ and kidnappings show how both provide circumstances under which some forms of torture may be just. I draw on large evils like terrorist attacks and smaller ones like kidnappings. I demonstrate how the perpetrators of these serious wrongs forfeit the right not to be harmed we otherwise have. In addition to showing when torture may be just, I delineate which acts are morally permissible and those which are not. I call this ‘line drawing’.
The second chapter is a unique focus on aftercare. This begins by looking at the emerging literature on justice after war, or jus post bellum. After examining some principles of post-war justice, I look at post-torture justice, or jus post cruciamentum. It is my position that those directly involved in coercive interrogation may experience harm and should be afforded aftercare. Just aftercare is first provided to innocent persons who were unjustly interrogated. I divide those justly interrogated into three groups: the first is the guilty person who will not be incarcerated; the second is the guilty person who will be incarcerated for a short period of time; the third is the guilty person who will serve a life sentence in prison. Within each category I argue for care related specifically to the possible trauma of torture the person faced. Lastly, I advocate aftercare for the interrogator. The interrogator, in the cases I endorse, is generally an agent of the liberal democratic state. Thus, the interrogator is owed aftercare by the society she acts on behalf of.
The thesis defends the rare use of harsh techniques to protect the innocent and defend the institutions of liberal democracy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13654


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