Dr. Michael Levin is a philosophy professor at the City University of New York. His areas of research interest include publications on metaphysics, epistemology, race, homosexuality, animal rights, the philosophy of archeology, the philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, and the philosophy of science. In his article "The Case for Torture” published by Newsweek in 1982, Michael Levin is defending the use of torture as being necessary and justifiably in some extreme cases in order to preserve the greater good of human society. In connection with this he is analyzing the problematic issue of the usage of torture towards terrorists. In his opinion this should be a topic to be taken more and more into consideration also by the Western democracies, as such kind of acts of terrorism will happen even with a more frequency in the future.
In order to conclude whether his arguments are valid or not, there must be done a closer examination of what kind of arguments he is actually giving. As mentioned above the central thesis of his argumentation is that the use of torture should be seen in some special, extreme situations as acceptable, and sometimes even as necessary. This should be done only to protect the safety of the majority of the people. In other words, when the extreme case of a “ticking-bomb scenario” appears, and there exists a terrorist in custody, who has the right information to save the lives of a great number of people, there should be no doubt applying the torture. In his opinion the morality of the one who is refusing to apply the torture in such a situation should be seen as doubtful.
Levis is beginning the article by mentioning general premises regarding the topic of torture. Then he continues his argumentation by giving three hyperbolic, hypothetical situations in which the use of terror might be regarded as justifiable. His justification for such an argument is that sometimes is necessary to disregard the civil liberties of a...
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