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Torture And National Security: A Moral Question

1662 words - 7 pages

Throughout the semester, we, as freshmen Fellows, have been studying and questioning the existence of morals, why they are important, and to whom or for whom our moral responsibility lends itself. The curriculum is a comprehensive examination of these questions and successfully projects ideas about human morality that, depending on which text, either affirmed or questioned our morality. In addition, we have addressed moral disengagement, a plague that seems to inject every one of us with the ability to ignore or reject situations which call for moral action. While the curriculum does an appropriate job in addresses these questions, there seems to be room for expansion with a type of "gray area" subject. The text that I recommend for inclusion into the Calling and Leadership 102 curriculum is an 1978 entry into the Philosophy and Public Affairs journal simply entitled, "Torture", written by Henry Shue, a Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University. If included in the curriculum, it would be in the Section 3b, which asks if disobedience or violence is ever moral. This article should be included because of the author's demonstrated expertise in the subject, its alignment and expansion of the section it should be included in, and ability to induce "gray area" type questions about the role of the global community in regards to torture and public safety.
When determining the curriculum for this course, an important aspect of any text that must be examined is the reliability as well as it's appropriateness in context of the general Fellows curriculum. The 1978, "Torture", should be included in because it examines the philosophy of the issue and is not simply a blanket-level assessment. The article will spur a deeper understanding of the issue than one would not get from reading and discussing newspaper article on the same topic. Further demonstrating the appropriateness of the text in the general Fellows curriculum, Dr. Shue discusses Kantian ideas, displaying his desire to understand the philosophy behind the issue (Shue 132). Dr. Shue's renown expertise on the subject of torture as well as the philosophical approach taken in the is just a basic starting point for why it ought to be included in the Calling and Leadership curriculum.
Furthermore, the article, "Torture", should be incorporated in the curriculum because it addresses the questions of Section 3b of the syllabus: "Is disobedience moral?" and "Can violence ever be moral?". The article does not explicitly address the first question, but this text will open discussion about the question of unlawful means of torture in order to protect the innocent. Situations displayed in popular TV shows in which a terrorist knows where a soon-to-be utilized weapon of mass destruction is but won't answer unless tortured and forced to could be discussed. The article more fully addresses the second question, "Can violence ever be moral?" with a...

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