Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Exploding the Myth of the Ticking Time Bomb

As part of his continuing On Torture series, Arthur Silber provides the definitive takedown of the morally repugnant "ticking time bomb" justification for legalizing torture.

2 Comments:

Blogger badly informed boy said...

I've argued elsewhere that the best response to the ticking time bomb argument for those who oppose the use of torture is to accept its conclusion. Anything less is intellectually dishonest, given that the TTB scenario can be imbellished to an arbitrary extent, such that the survival of the human race depends on torturing a single known terrorist.

Accepting its conclusion, which is exceptionally narrow even in its own terms, enables us to switch attention to the many difficult and practical questions which the argument ignores. These are where serious debate about the use of torture lie, and the ticking time bomb argument, precisely because it needs to be so abstracted in order to establish its conclusion, sheds no light on them at all.

1:43 AM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger Luke said...

Thanks for the thoughts.

I think the TTB scenario ITSELF is intellectually dishonest, so I generally refuse to argue on its artificial premises. I prefer to point out how useless and unrealistic the hypothetical is, and pose a more realistic hypothetical where knowledge about every key fact is imperfect.

Best of luck with your new blog!

10:51 AM, November 09, 2006  

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