Vol. 6, Issue 3 (2020)
Evaluating the moral permissibility of torture is legalisation of torture the path forward
Author(s): Gunav Lal Gujral
Abstract: “Torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person by a public official or by a person with the consent of a public official. It is an inexorable depravity impossible to obliterate. It is proposed that the only circumstances in which torture can be justified is when it is conducted to prevent a grave risk and danger. In the first section of this essay, the moral permissibility of torture is argued using the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number and correlate it to the ticking time bomb hypothetical. The argument attempts to disarm the hypocritical view of moral absolutists, who hold that torture is an absolute moral wrong using the principle of double effect. Additionally, in the second section of this essay, it is established that torture is a common occurrence across the world, albeit under the radar of accountability. In conclusion, the paper proposes that regulation and legalisation of torture is a more favourable alternatively than an idealistic absolute ban on torture, which is pragmatically unworkable.