Contemporary Moral Problems: War, Terrorism, Torture and Assassination
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Excerpted chapters from the ninth edition of White CONTEMPORARY MORAL PROBLEMS made available to provide readers with a brief anthology for the study of the ethics of war, terrorism, torture, and assassination. Supported with problem cases, an illuminating introductory essay, and study questions, this text will engage students in one of the most crucial moral debates of our time. Readings representing divergent viewpoints will challenge them to develop their own critical positions. This text is available either as a standalone reader or can be bundled with any other Wadsworth title.
the British to leave India, and that nonviolent resistance to murderous tyrants like Hitler will only provoke the mass murder of the innocent. Perhaps the practice of nonviolence could not “defeat” the British or “defeat” Hitler, but by Gandhi’s standard the use of military force would only produce a greater defeat, perverting the souls of thousands engaged in war and intensifying the will to violence on the opposing side. On the other hand, the soul of the satyagrahi will be strengthened and
describes important similarities between preemptive war and humanitarian intervention, including that both in their justiﬁcation appeal to a poorly deﬁ ned notion of the “international community.” Criteria for just resort to force in both cases are proposed with special attention to the issue of international authorization. McMahan, Jeff. “The Ethics of Killing in War.” Ethics 114 (2004): 693–733. The author challenges the principle of noncombatant immunity and the common view that soldiers in an
does not currently permit assassination, but this prohibition stems from an executive order (which could be repealed), not because it is forbidden by the Constitution. Should the United States reconsider its position on assassination? In general, are these methods of ﬁghting terrorism acceptable to you? Why or why not? 6. National Missile Defense National Missile Defense (NMD) is the controversial $8.3-billion missile defense shield championed by President George W. Bush and his Secretary of
“Reduced Fear,” “Pride and Ego Up,” “Pride and Ego Down,” “Futility.” The interrogator may set up a scenario to make the subject think he is in the clutches of a much-feared secret police organization from a different country (“False Flag”). Every bit of the subject’s environment is fair game for manipulation and deception, as the interrogator aims to create the total lie that gets the subject talking. Let me be clear that I am not objecting to these deceptions. None of these practices rises to
where the bomb is and when it is set to go off. One of the policemen happens to have experience in torturing, although torture is illegal and not normally used. The policeman believes the terrorist will talk if tortured. Should the terrorist be tortured or not? If he does not talk, the bomb will go off as planned and thousands will die or be injured. But if he does reveal the location of the bomb, experts will rush to the location and they will be able to prevent it from detonating. Is torture