Approaching moral decisions

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Dealing with Questions on Torture and Security

When dealing with questions about whether torture was used in areas relevant to security, including interrogation, one must be extremely cautious. However, before proceeding, it is critical to identify the terrorist in custody as a prisoner of war. There are numerous techniques of dealing with the matter.

Utilitarianism: Maximize Benefits

The first point of view, Utilitarianism, is primarily concerned with maximizing the benefits that the greatest number of people would receive (Holmes, 2007). It contends that because the terrorist possesses the necessary information to aid in the rescue of many lives, using torture in such a scenario is ethically most justified. The rationale would therefore focus on finding how the whole country would actually gain through the torture.

Kantian Duty: Treat Others as Ends

Again, when basing on Kantian duty, it reasons that people must act in regard to their duty and respect for the moral law. And the current moral law commands that any form of human torture is literally wrong. Therefore, if someone recognizes the argument, then he or she must be able to factor it in such a decision. However, the decision must be reached without any biasness. Thus, in regard to Kant's view, the application of torture would definitely not be justified since he reasons that we must always treat others as ends but not as means. In fact, if the prisoner is to be tortured, he would be used as a means or method in obtaining the information making the prisoner solely become a means which is contrary to Kant's law.

Virtue Ethics: Focus on Feelings and Emotions

Virtue ethics, on the other hand, also have apparently similar approach, although focuses mostly on the feelings and emotions that the person torturing might have rather than his or her motives. The individual carrying out torturing out of duty is undoubtedly fulfilling his duty; however, he might enjoy torturing the prisoner for his own selfish benefits. Now, according to Gardiner (2003), as much as the person torturing is fulfilling his duty, virtue ethics considers him or her as wrong by doing that, not through fulfilling the duty, but by having others selfish or personal motives. However, if the person was doing it out of his sincere love for his country so as to save the lives of many citizens, though was in any way fulfilling the duty demand, then he is justified out of good virtue.

Christian Principle Based Ethics

In considering Christian-principle based ethics, it is argued that in regard to the nature of God and human, "What he created is good, and the ends for which he created are also good - good ends that we as God's servants should pursue." Therefore, whether conquering to this argument does not tolerate the act of torture in this given scenario is only dependent on personal level. One may reason that the interpretation of scripture best highlights what ought to be done in the scenario. Generally, the view of Christianity in such a scenario is more of a gain situational and therefore applying torture on someone is necessarily depending on how an individual would explain loving, which is exactly how the Bible requires the Christians to be like.

Personal Preference: Virtue Ethics

Therefore, according to me, I would prefer the theory virtue ethics simply because it is critical on both sides such that it only justifies torture of the prisoner if the person doing the torture is doing so for the love of his country and not for his own personal or selfish gain.

Disagreement with Christian View

I am disagreeing with the statement in the Christian view which claims that, "Christian perception on the issue is again situational" and also that torturing a person is basically how someone would explain loving, which is also in line with our the Bible or the scripture calls on Christians to be like. Personally, I do not believe that the perception of Christians is situational since as Holmes states that when it comes to moral rules in Christianity, there is no single situation that is so far different from one another (Holmes, 2007). In addition, I also do not have a belief that a person torturing another person shows any love, not even in any single way. Generally, torture is not just containing only malice and pain and can only come from sadistic and evil people placed with only one intention of coercion. One may also argue that God only tortures His children only to demonstrate His mighty power but not with any particular reason, though I would also stand to disagree with the statement. God only administers out His punishments specifically to the individuals who deserve the punishments which are the exact repercussions of people's own misconducts. The punishments of God are always perfectly fair and just.


Gardiner, P. (2003). A virtue ethics approach to moral dilemmas in medicine. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29(5), 297-302.

Holmes, A. F. (2007). Ethics: Approaching moral decisions. InterVarsity Press.

April 19, 2023

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