The Instigator
WPUnurse
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Robot2
Con (against)
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Are some cases of torture minimally morally acceptable?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 973 times Debate No: 64978
Debate Rounds (4)
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WPUnurse

Pro

1.Torture is the intentional infliction of some type of suffering on some non-consenting, defenseless, other person for the purpose of breaking there will.
2.Torture indicated the failure of the compliance of the subject.
3.Torture makes the subject stop acting according to their own will, and begin acting according to the will of the torturer.
4.What is ethical is moral.
5.Ethics asks us to take care for the basic need and legitimate expectation of others as well as our own
6.To be moral means that there are several considerations that must be followed in order to make torture morally justified, and it is only moral with these standards met.
7.Minimally moral means that just the bare necessities of morality are met.
8.There are acts of torture in extreme emergencies, such as the unknown location of a planted nuclear bomb, that are considered morally justifiable.
9.The routine use of torture is not morally justifiable.
10.There are factors which all are necessary in order to make torture morally justifiable: Torture will save a life with the information obtained; there is no other means to save the life (lives); the threat to life is imminent; the life to be saved is innocent; the subject of torture is known not to be innocent.
11.If torturing a terrorist is morally permissible without wondering if it is legal, the bare fact that torture is illegal doesn't make it morally impermissible.
12.Torture is not morally acceptable if it is legalized or institutionalized, because if it was legalized, it would be allowed to take place routinely, and the routine use of torture is never morally justifiable.
13.Saying that torture is absolutely immoral is just as implausible as saying that killing is always absolutely morally unacceptable.
14.Torture is not the morally worst thing a person can do, so sometimes a person must choose the lesser of the two evils.
15.It is a mistake to assume that what morality requires, as in the case of some one-off (extreme emergencies) cases of torture, must be identical with what the law requires or permits in that situation.
16.Law is a blunt instrument, applying to everything in one generalization; morality on the other hand is a sharp instrument and can be made to apply to particular situations.
17.Therefore torture should not be legalized.
18.Therefore, some acts of torture are minimally morally acceptable.

Non-Controversial Premises:
Premises 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 12 are not controversial. Premises 1, and 5 are simple definitions of torture and morality. Premise 4 is simply making a connection between ethics and morality. Premise 3 is giving a characteristic of torture.

Controversial Premises:
7: There is minimal morality when the characteristics of morality are met in their bare and rawest necessities.
8: It would be better to save a life then to not torture and lose even one life, if there was no other way of saving that life.
10: These factors must be met in order that torture be minimally morally justified. If anything else is lacking, the torture in that instance is not moral.
11: Once we determine whether or not torture can or can't be moral in some cases, even if it is inserted that it is illegal, this is besides the point, because the morality of something is not based upon law.
13: This is a strong argument by analogy, which shows how implausible it would be to say that torture is absolutely immoral--think only of cases of extremely emergencies where without the information gained from the torture, many lives will be lost. Why not torture and not lose any lives, than not torture and lose many lives.
14: We always are choosing the better of the two evils--this applies here as well.
15: This premise leads off of premise 11. The morality of anything is not based at all on law.
16: This too is related to the lack of connection between law and the morality of torture. Law should have no bearing on whether or not some cases of torture can be considered minimally moral.
Robot2

Con

1. i agree with your definition of torture.
3. the statement is not fully true and i do not fully agree because, it depends on the level of torture for a person to stop acting according to their will. It might take many tries of torture for a person to act against their own will.
4. the statement is too vague to tell.
5. I agree with your definition of ethics
6. i do not agree with your statement because, you did not give a specific definition of what is moral and you did not define what the standards that need to be met are.
7. i agree with your statement and definition of minimally moral.
8. i agree with the acts of torture in those specific emergencies but only if the torturer is in complete assurance of capturing the right subject.
9. the statement could be true depending on your definition of "routine use to torture"
10. i agree with the factors that make torture morally justifiable because without them torture will not be moral.
11. i disagree because, the forms of torture that can be preformed could lead to extreme consequences like the death of the terrorist, and in this case the that action is not morally permissible or legal.
12. i agree with your statement.
14. i do not fully agree with your statement. if torture is not the worst option to choose, then there must be worse actions which you did not state.
15. i disagree because there are some principles in morality that are universal, in this case it could be killing of a person, and if torture is taken to the extreme in those cases of emergency then morality can be identical to some laws.
16. i agree with your statement.
17. i disagree because by making torture legalized that means that all forms of it is acceptable and routine use of torture is also permissible.
18. so some cases of torture are not minimally, morally acceptable.

Non-Controversial Premises:
premises 1,5,6, 7,10,11 and 12 are not controversial. Premises 1,5 and 7 are not controversial because we both agree on the definition of torture, ethics and minimally moral. Premise 10 is not controversial because those certain factors have to be present in order for the act to be morally justifiable. Premise 6 is not controversial either because the statement made by in the Pro argument does not state what is the conditions that have to be followed. Also premise 11 is not because there are extreme sides to torture that can lead to negative consequences like death. premise 12 is not because both sides agreed on it.

Controversial Premises:
3: there are different ways of torture and in some cases torture might lead to extreme cases which will cause death.
4: the statement is too vague so anyone can argue about what is ethical and what is moral and how they connect.
8: there are some cases where the subject that is being tortured can be slightly involved in a crime and not be the full case of it.
9: the definition of routine use of torture was not given by the Pro side, so the premise can be easily controversial.
14: there are certain actions that are worse than torture which was not provided by the Pro side.
15: some people might not believe that what is moral and what is lawful is the different and they might argue against the fact that they are. for example killing.
16 and 17: by making torture legalized we are giving the chance that everyone can use torture to the extreme.
18. by saying that torture should not be legalized, one is inferring that acts of torture (that could lead to an extreme action, like killing) is morally acceptable.

Questions:
what is meant by premise 2 and 13?
in premise 6, what are the conditions that should be followed and how do you know what is morally justifiable and not by these standards (which are not mentioned)?
in premise 9, what do you mean by the routine use of torture and how is it not morally justifiable?
Debate Round No. 1
WPUnurse

Pro

Premise 2 means that the use of torture indicates that the victim has been given the opportunity to be compliant with the to be torture, and the victim has also been allowed to cooperate with the to be torturer. If the person does not comply, that is when torture is used. I say torture indicates the failure of the compliance of the subject, because torture is not used unless they have failed to cooperate or comply.
3: If you agree with the definition of torture, then you must also agree with this premise, because the fact that the will of the victim is broken is covered in premise 1. Premise 3 is not entirely necessary to my case, it simply is used to help clarify what is mean t by breaking the will of the subject. Also, you mention extreme cases of torture, which is irrelevant to my case as I am simply proposing that there are some instances of torture that are MINIMALLY morally justifiable.
4: Why is this vague? Unless you can provide me with an alternative meaning, this simply is equating morality with ethics, so that the definition of ethics can be used synonymously with the definition of morality.
6: By looking at premises 4 and 5, there is a clear definition of what is moral. Because in premise 5 I stated that what is ethical is moral, the definition that I gave for ethics is also the definition of morality. You indicated that you agree with my definition of ethics, therefore you must agree that I have a good definition of morality. Please refer to premise 10 to see the standards that must be met to make torture minimally moral.
8: I concede that there must be assurance that the right subject is being tortured for torture to be considered morally justifiable in extreme emergencies. However, you here are stating that you agree with the premise as long as this one conditional is inserted. By doing so, you admit that there are acts of torture in the case of extreme emergencies, such as the unknown location of a planted bomb, that are morally justified, as long as the torturers are completely positive that they are torturing the right subject. This is exactly what I am trying to show, so your agreeing concedes that there are indeed some minimally moral cases of torture.
9: I simply mean here, in reference to premise 8, that if torture happens regularly (routinely) it is not justifiable. Because I stated in premise 8 that it is minimally morally justifiable in the case of extreme emergencies, it necessarily follows that routine use of torture (the complete oppositie of extreme emergencies) is not morally justifiable.
10: You here state that you agree with the factors that make torture minimally morally justifiable, because without them the torture will not be moral. If this was put into a positive form, you would be stating that with the factors, torture would be moral.
11: This is completely irrelevant"I am not saying that extreme causes of torture are moral. I am arguing that SOME cases of torture are MINIMALLY morally justifiable. Inserting extreme forms does not invalidate my argument because I also believe that torture resulting in death is immoral.
13: this premise is an argument by analogy in which I am seeking to convey the complete implausibility of saying that torture is always absolutely immoral.
14:I will use an example to illustrate my point. If a terrorist who is known 100% to have planted a bomb that will destroy an entire city is apprehended, but will not disclose where the bomb is located so that it can be dismantled, the investigators are left with 2 choices: Either they let the bomb go off because they can"t get it out of him where it is (and therefore the entire city is destroyed"there was no other way to save the people because the bomb was on a timer and there wasn"t enough time to evacuate); OR, the investigators can torture the victim to obtain the information and save the entire city, and no lives will be lost (the victim of torture will not die). These are both "evils", so the investigators must chose the lesser of the two, which would clearly be to torture the terrorist so that no lives will be lost.
15: I am not saying that laws cannot be identical with what is moral, I am simply stating that it is not necessarily true that laws need to be always completely identical with morality. This is clarified by premise 16, which you agree with, saying that laws only apply to broad, general things, but morality can apply to very specific instances. I will clarify premise 15 further with an example. Law says not to speed (speed limits), and law also says not to use your phone while driving. Now imagine a father is sitting on his front porch watching his little girl play in the front yard. Are car comes speeding up, a man jumps out of the front seat, grabs the girl, hops back into the car, and the car speeds off again. Immediately, the father jumps into his own car, and tears down the road to try to follow the car that has his kidnapped daughter in it. He goes as fast as he can to keep up with the car, even though he is breaking the speed limit. At the same time, he pulls out his phone and dials 911, so that he can make the police aware so that they can apprehend the kidnappers. According to law, he is here breaking 2 laws, by speeding and talking on the phone while driving, yet what he is doing is by no means immoral. If he did not do this and simply sat on the front porch and watched, we would say that that was immoral. By this illustration we can see that laws and morality do not always necessarily have to be identical.
17: By stating that you disagree with this premise, you are saying that you think that torture should be legalized. If you look back at premise 12, you will see that the legalization of torture is not moral, ever, which you agreed with.
Robot2

Con

now that you have explained premise 2, i understand your point. however, you already stated that the torture is done against one's will in premise 1, so that premise is a little redundant. Also in premise 1 you said "...other person for the purpose of breaking there will" where it was actually suppose to be "their" will instead because i was a little confused when i was reading it again.
In your second statement, you said that premise 3 is not entirely necessary to your cases, so i was wondering why you mentioned it in your first argument if it was not necessary to make the point.
Now i understand premise 4 better with the clarification that you provided. however, in premise 5 and 10 you did not define what the standards that need to be met in order to define what is really moral. Also, because without explaining those standards i can not understand what you mean by "bare necessities of morality" which does not explain what is minimally moral.
for premise 6 like i stated, you did not explain what the standards that need to be met for something to be moral. Yes, i do agree with your definition of ethics but you stated in premise 7 that "minimally moral means that the bare necessities of morality are met" and you never explained what those necessities are.
in premise 8 i did agree with what you said however, you did not state in your argument that the subject that is being captured is truly is captured for the "right" reasons so you can not assume that i agree with what you are saying about some cases of torture being moral.
in premise 10 you said that "There are factors which all are necessary in order to make torture morally justifiable" and then you stated the factors. however, you never stated that these factors are only true in some cases, so you are stating that torture is moral as long as all these factors are presented, and for order to torture to be moral you stated that these factors need to be presented, so you are stating that all cases of torture are moral which proves your conclusion wrong.
your response to premise 11 is now completely wrong because based on what i stated in premise 10, which was that all forms of torture are moral as long as the factors you stated are present, so you can not argue that SOME cases of torture are minimally morally justifiable.
Also in your response you said that " Inserting extreme forms does not invalidate my argument because I also believe that torture resulting in death is immoral." in that statement you said that you believe it is, however, this argument is not stated on your subjective believes, so you can not say "you believe" and when you do say it, that means this whole argument is based on what each person "believes" and "thinks" which makes the whole conclusion about some cases being minimally morally justifiable based on different opinions.
for premise 13, you said "killing is always absolutely morally unacceptable" and then you compared it to torture being "absolutely immoral" i do not understand the comparison that you are trying to say so please explain.
for premise 15 you said that "torture, must be identical with what the law" then you said that morality only has to be with specific instances and law has to be with only broad, general things. So my question is how can torture be identical to law, if law and morality are not identical? you can not say that torture is moral if you do not say that law and morality are also identical.
Also, the example given in your respond to premise 15 is irrelevant to the argument we are talking about, so it is unnecessary.
To answer you last response, like i stated in the above statement, if torture and morality are not identical, and torture is identical to law (like you stated in premise 15) then you can not say that torture can be moral in any cases.
Debate Round No. 2
WPUnurse

Pro

1: I will adjust the spelling error in premise 1 for my final argument.
2: Premise 2 is not redundant, because it is clarifying that torture will not occur without the failure of compliance.
3: I will adjust premise 3 as follows: Breaking the will of the subject means to cause the subject to stop acting according to their own will, and begin to act according to the will of the subject. Then this premise will clearly be a definition, so that it is more obvious what the purpose of the premise is.
5: I do not understand your need for clarification on premise 5 ("Ethics asks us to take care for the basic need and legitimate expectation of others as well as our own."), because in round 1, you stated that you agree with this premise (non-controversial).
6: Again, I state, I DID indeed explain the standards which must be met in order for torture to be minimally moral. These standards (like I said in round 2) are found in premise 10!
7: I do not understand your confusion with this premise, because in round 1, you stated that you agree with this premise because you characterized it as non-controversial, because you agreed with my definition of minimally moral. By bare necessities, it is meant that the situation is edging on immoral, however by definition, it fits all the standards of morality (see premise 5, 10).
8: Again, by asserting that you agree with this premise as long as I insert the conditional that it is 100% positive the right person has been arrested, you are actually stating something that helps my case, because you are agreeing that some cases of torture can be minimally morally justifiable as long as I insert your conditional. I will insert this conditional into premise 10, so that in addition to the factors already given, it will also state that "the tortured must be 100% guaranteed to be the right person."
10: I do not understand your argument against premise 10, because I intentionally stated that ALL of these factors must be present in order for torture to be minimally morally justified. It doesn"t follow that all cases of torture are morally justifiable, but simply stating that all these factors are necessary for torture to be morally justifiable, because there are examples of torture which leave out one or more of these factors, and then the torture would not be morally justified. I do not understand your point in saying that having all of the these factors true would indicate that all torture is morally justifiable"rather it indicates that SOME cases of torture are minimally morally justifiable. An example of a form of torture that excludes one of these factors, which therefore would NOT be morally justifiable is as follows: Torturing a victim for the simple pleasure of the torturer. OR Torturing someone just because there is a slight possibility that they know something that may or may not harm other people.
11: May I here note that in round 1, you stated that premise 11 was not controversial"therefore you agreed with it. This was confusing because you objected to it in your standard form argument, but then stated that it was non- controversial. Therefore I do not understand whether or not you agree with it. However, based on my explanation of premise 10, which your objection of does not make sense to me, premise 10 can be argued, because if I clear up the issue with premise 10, then you stated that premise 11 would be permissible. However, this argument seems to be rather irrelevant because premise 11 has nothing to do with the argument in premise 10. Premise 11 rather seeks to assert that the legality of torture has no bearing on its morality. In addition, I stated "I believe" in round 2"s argument for premise 11. Because you indicated that you do not agree with the subject nature of this statement, I will simply change "Inserting extreme forms does not invalidate my argument because I also believe that torture resulting in death is immoral" to state "Inserting extreme forms does not invalidate my argument because according to my case as well as yours, torture resulting in death is immoral." This adjustment in addition to what was stated in round 2"s argument should now clear up your issues with premise 11.
13: This argument by analogy must be understood by first understanding that it would be implausible to say that killing is always absolutely morally unacceptable. Think about killing in defense or the death penalty. By saying that killing is always absolutely morally unacceptable, you would be saying that neither defensive killing or the death penalty would be acceptable. I am comparing this by analogy to saying that torture is always absolutely wrong, because there are arguably instances of torture that are minimally morally acceptable, such as in states of extreme emergency.
15: Please note the grammar. "Torture, must be identical with what the law" by NO means states that torture is identical to law. "Torture" separated from the rest of the statement by a comma, and if you go back and read what the entire premise is saying, you will see that I am not saying that torture is identical with law, but rather that morality in relation to torture does not always need to be identical to the law. I CAN say that law and morality are not identical, because I did NOT say that torture and law are identical. The example is not irrelevant because it was seeking to clarify for you an example of how morality and law are not always identical.
Robot2

Con

2: when you clarified your second premise to me you stated that "I say torture indicates the failure of the compliance of the subject, because torture is not used unless they have failed to cooperate or comply" you basically said that torture occurs against to the subject's will (which you already stated in premise 1) so you already made it clear that torture occurs when there is a failure of compliance you just stated it in different words in your second premise, which is what i meant by redundant.
3: now that you changed your premise to what you stated in your above argument, your point is more clear and easier to follow. However, at first i was confused about what you meant which is why i mentioned it.
5: even though i agreed with what you said, in premise 6 you stated that there are some standards than need to be follow; however, you never explained what these standards are in your argument (which i also asked you to answer under "questions" in round 1)
6: in your statement above you claim to say that you explained those standards in premise 10 however, your argument in premise 10 were stated to prove that TORTURE is morally justifiable not to explain what the standards for something to be moral. Also, that is why i agreed with the standards in premise 10 and that was all.
8: i agreed with your premise which did NOT state the conditional that it is 100% positive the right person has been arrested, therefore, you can not say that i agree with you whole case. However, if you were to state that in your premises in the round 1, then you could have made this argument but now you can not.
10: in premise 10 you did not say anything about torture being MINIMALLY morally justifiable, like you stated in round 3, without adding the word minimally you are saying all cases of torture are morally justifiable and have the moral "standards" that you talked about before.
11: by already saying "i believe" in your explanation in round 2, you already stated that the "torture resulting in death is immoral" because of YOUR opinion and not anyone else's. So you can not prove that the extreme cases of torture is immoral because no it is all based on your opinion. Which now brings me to my first argument, how do you know that those cases of torture can not lead to the extreme situation? which can not really be proven because you stated that it was a matte of a opinion by saying "i believe"
13: by giving the example of "death penalty" you brought a very controversial argument into the table because some people believe it is okay to kill people as a penalty for their actions, and some disagree. This brings us back to your own opinion about killing being immoral so you just provide that the whole cases of morality and immorality is based on an opinion not actual facts.
15: if your explanation were to be true then, people who believe in different morals must believe in different types of torture and those sources of torture must lead to the extreme cases.
Debate Round No. 3
WPUnurse

Pro

1.Torture is the intentional infliction of some type of suffering on some non-consenting, defenseless, other person for the purpose of breaking their will.
2.Torture makes the subject stop acting according to their own will, and begin acting according to the will of the torturer.
3.What is ethical is moral.
4.Ethics asks us to take care for the basic need and legitimate expectation of others as well as our own
6.Minimally moral means that just the bare necessities of morality are met.
7.There are acts of torture in extreme emergencies, such as the unknown location of a planted nuclear bomb, that are considered morally justifiable.
8.The routine use of torture is not morally justifiable.
9.There are factors which all are necessary in order to make torture minimally morally justifiable: Torture will save a life with the information obtained; there is no other means to save the life (lives); the threat to life is imminent; the life to be saved is innocent; the subject of torture is known not to be innocent (100% guaranteed to be the right person)
10.If torturing a terrorist is minimally morally permissible without wondering if it is legal, the bare fact that torture is illegal doesn't make it morally impermissible.
11. Torture is not morally acceptable if it is legalized or institutionalized, because if it was legalized, it would be allowed to take place routinely, and the routine use of torture is never morally justifiable.
12. Saying that torture is absolutely immoral is just as implausible as saying that killing is always absolutely morally unacceptable.
13. Torture is not the morally worst thing a person can do, so sometimes a person must choose the lesser of the two evils.
14.It is a mistake to assume that what morality requires, as in the case of some one-off (extreme emergencies) cases of torture, must be identical with what the law requires or permits in that situation.
15. Law is a blunt instrument, applying to everything in one generalization; morality on the other hand is a sharp instrument and can be made to apply to particular situations.
16. Therefore, some acts of torture are minimally morally acceptable.
The numbering on the premises has now changed because I have adjusted my argument according to several arguments that my opponent had which I conceded that I must change, however, these changes do not affect my conclusion.
I believe that I have made my point clear, especially because my opponent has agreed with several premises that indicated that she agrees with my conclusion. For example, she agreed with is now premise 9, which says that there are necessary factors that make torture minimally morally justifiable. By agreeing that there are factors which are necessary to make it justifiable, she is saying that she agrees that there are ways which torture can be minimally morally justifiable.
One of her major objections had been that we were not 100% guaranteed that we were torturing the same person, however the above mentioned premise also included the standard that the subject of torture is known not to be innocent. To clarify this further for her, I added in parenthesis that it is 100% guaranteed to be the right person.
She also agreed with what is now premise 7 and by doing so, also admits that there are some cases of torture which are minimally morally acceptable.
Another issue that was brought forward was extreme cases of torture, that even may result in death. However, this issue is not pertinent to my argument, because I am only arguing that SOME cases of torture are MINIMALLY morally acceptable, so these extreme cases have nothing to do with my argument. Extreme cases are cases which would NOT be minimally morally acceptable.
For these reasons, it is not unreasonable to say that there are some cases of torture which are indeed minimally morally justifiable. I have defined what moral is, as well as what it means to be minimally moral. I have also outlined the necessary conditions for some cases of torture to be minimally morally acceptable. My opponent has accepted some premises which state that there are cases of torture that are minimally morally acceptable. For these reasons, I can state that there are some cases of torture which are minimally morally justifiable.
Robot2

Con

1. i agree with definition of torture. "Torture is the intentional infliction of some type of suffering on some non-consenting, defenseless, other person for the purpose of breaking their will."
2. torture does make an object stop acting according to their own will and act according to the will of the torturer.
3. however, the torturer could not be an authority and the action of torture on the subject could be done just to cause pain.
4. there are extreme cases where torture is not acceptable for example, when there is a pleasure given off by the torturer to make the subject break their own will.
5. in some cases, even authorities can perform torture on a subject to break their will; however, they might take it to the extreme if the "torturer/authority" finds joy in the torture itself.
6. this could lead to load to more server consequences due to intentions behind the person performing the torture.
7. some cases of torture can not be minimally morally justifiable because, those cases including torturing a terrorist, could lead to extreme violence.
8. Therefore, some cases of torture can not be minimally morally justifiable.
even though i agree with the definition of ethics and morality in my opponents argument, it is still not acceptable for some cases of torture to be morally justifiable.
some people perform acts of torture on others not just to break their own will but also because they find joy in the act of torture itself. in addition, until this days there are some cases against the fact that authorities should not perform torture because one might take a pleasure performing the action.
an example of what i have explained above would be cops performing the act of torture on a terrorist. even though the cop might be performing torture for the intention of saving innocent lives, he or she might also be causing unnecessary pain to the subject being tortured as well.
however what i explained above does not mean that those actions are a routine acts of torture because one person can enjoy the torture of different objects.
my point is that sometimes even some cases of torture could be immoral according to the person's intention.
Debate Round No. 4
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