Torture, Dignity, and Humiliation

Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (4):480-501 (2016)
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Several recent analyses of torture focus on the humiliation torture inflicts on the victim as the principal evil inherent in torture. This paper challenges this focus by arguing that the connection between torture and humiliation is not a necessary one. Though it is true that most contemporary usages of torture humiliate, it is shown that this is dependent on both the context of the torture and the specific means of torture applied. It is demonstrated that, in certain circumstances, torture is feasible without inflicting the humiliation contemporary accounts of torture identify. At a theoretical level, it may even be possible to use torture as a way of explicitly expressing respect. The paper, therefore, warns against hinging the entire case against torture on humiliation and argues that we should scrutinize other ways in which torture may violate dignity, too.



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Citations of this work

Prison as a Torturous Institution.Jessica Wolfendale - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (2):297-324.

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References found in this work

The nature and value of rights.Joel Feinberg & Jan Narveson - 1970 - Journal of Value Inquiry 4 (4):243-260.
What's Wrong with Torture?David Sussman - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):1-33.
[Book review] the decent society. [REVIEW]Michael Schefczyk - 1998 - Social Theory and Practice 24 (3):449-469.
The Decent Society.Avishai Margalit & Naomi Goldblum - 2001 - Mind 110 (437):229-232.
The Moral Justifiability of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment.Michael Davis - 2005 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2):161-178.

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