I would like to bring up for our online discussion, what I already mentioned in class today. Personally, I have a really hard time understanding the merit of a discussion about torture after we learned that interrogational torture does not work. Of course, we can get engaged in a discussion about the morality and legality of torture, but I don‘t see the sense of it. Maybe, this is my fault and if so, please correct me. Nevertheless, it is a dictate of logic that a conclusion always has to be wrong if the premisses from which it was derived are wrong. In order to point that out clearly, I would like to give an example from our daily lives. In the last couple of weeks, I saw you guys working on your schedules for the spring semester. You decide what classes you want to take on the base of your interests and of what your major tells you to choose. Hence, there has to be some kind of information about the content of the classes and how you can count them. Based on these information, you finally choose your classes and with a little help of luck, you get them. But what if these information that you needed to make your decision were just wrong? Let‘s imagine, the syllabus of a class will be changed dramatically so that you cannot count that class anymore as the one that you need. Clearly, it makes no sense anymore to take that class.
Talking about the morality of torture by using the argument of necessity is analog to this example, because it is simply a logic fallacy to use a technique that causes wrong information (if it causes information at all) in order to get right information.
Additionally, Dershowitz‘ argument that we have to legalize it in order to make people aware of the immorality of torture does not convince me as well. Granted, it could be a practical way of preventing people from doing the actual act of torturing but that must not be the goal of a philosophical approach about torture. It could be a political one yes, but not a philosophical, but even here, as Tommy already pointed out in class, it is actually not a matter of laws, for torture is already illegal. It is more a matter of the enforcement of existing laws. Hence, rather than making this practical approach, we ought maybe think about, what kind of morality stands behind these actions.
I‘m curios to read your answers!