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Is torture ever justified?
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With torture, the end justifies the means

In time poor situations that could harm the greater part of humanity, torture can be justified if it means saving the community.
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The Argument

Torture is acceptable if it can save the lives of fellow citizens in “ticking-bomb” scenarios. Whether it’s an issue of national security or the potential death of a kidnapped toddler, torture might be the only means of eliciting crucial information fast enough to rescue the people at risk. Although torture may not be legal in America, 63% of Americans believe that torturing suspected terrorists can be a justifiable way of extracting information from them.[1] Information is sometimes more valuable than morals, so that justifies some tortures. If lives are at stake and if it’s for the good of the country, it would be best to put aside morals and sympathy.

Counter arguments

Information extracted under torture is low quality, as there's no way to assess their veracity in time and the tortured can just make it up to prevent tortures from delivering pain. Torture can be used to induce the tortured to say anything the torturer wants them to say, even if it is false.


[P1] Torture can reveal information that can potentially save lives. [P2] Torture is justified if lives are at stake.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 07:30 UTC