TORTURE AND JUST WAR
Version of Record online: 17 JAN 2012
© 2012 Journal of Religious Ethics, Inc.
Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 26–51, March 2012
How to Cite
Cole, D. (2012), TORTURE AND JUST WAR. Journal of Religious Ethics, 40: 26–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2011.00507.x
- Issue online: 17 JAN 2012
- Version of Record online: 17 JAN 2012
- Christian ethics;
- human dignity;
- just war tradition;
- virtue ethics
I offer an argument for why torture, as an act of state-sponsored force to gain information crucial to the well-being of the common good, should be considered as a tactic of war, and therefore scrutinized in terms of just war theory. I argue that, for those committed to the justifiability of the use of force, most of the popular arguments against all acts of torture are unpersuasive because the logic behind them would forbid equally any act of mutilating or killing in battle. I will also argue that looking at torture through the perspective of the just war tradition forces us to place strictures on the practice that make it hard to justify, helps us to see why torture should never be legalized, helps us to clarify when circumstances might justify torture, and suggests what sort of character is required to recognize when those circumstances have occurred.