Note: In order to fulfill this assignment, you need to have read the Group Discussion Board Forum 2 Instructions and the following chapters from Holmes: chs. 4–7, 14. If you have not done so, please stop and read that material. For your thread, post an answer to the following 2 questions with at least 350 words: From your understanding of Holmes’ discussions, explain how each of the following theories might answer the question: utilitarianism, Kantian duty-based ethics, virtue ethics, and Christian-principle based ethics. Select the theory you think is the appropriate one to take in this case and explain why. Here we confront a question of practical importance that also helps to provide philosophical clarity: if the stakes are high enough, is torture justified? We all agree that in ordinary circumstance, torturing someone is not the thing to do. We don’t torture someone for fun, we don’t torture someone who owes us money until he pays us back, and we don’t even torture someone as punishment for crimes he has committed–no matter how terrible these crimes may be, such as torturing other people. No, torture we all agree is bad, very bad. On the other hand, torture isn’t the only bad things. In fact, some bad things are even worse than torture, such as, say, a nuclear strike on a city of millions, which could kill thousands or millions and leave even more to suffer terrible radiation sickness and perhaps finally die as well. This opens up the question—well, torture is bad, alright, ordinarily it’s wrong, but if the alternative is a lot worse, is it still bad?… If you ask the average American citizen this question, you will get a variety of answers. Likewise, if you ask a group of philosophers, you will get a variety of answers, and these will be related to a variety of different moral philosophies—utilitarians especially have been willing to grant, in principle anyway, that in some circumstances almost anything, no matter how bad, may be justified, if only it prevents something even worse from occurring. “So get out the pliers, Bob!” Others have thought that this is simply unethical, and that there are some things on ought never to do, no matter how good the consequences of doing so. “Perhaps you should hold off on those pliers for now, Bob. Let’s talk it out.” In this assignment you will need to discuss the different approaches that you think that different ethical approaches will bring to the issue of torture. Here is some advice: Don’t be afraid of detail—not the details of torture, but the details of the ethical theories. This is particularly important with virtue ethics and Christian principles, because these theories are more complex than utilitarianism and Kantian deontology. When you discuss virtue ethics, for example, mention which virtues or vices are involved in or impacted by torturing / not torturing; when you mention Christian principles, mention how justice and love for neighbor and love for enemy are involved in the decision—all of these will come into play. Don’t spend all of your time describing the four theories’ approaches to the problem. Take the time to describe your own view and your reasons for your view. If you agree with one of the theories, explain why this theory is correct.
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