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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Ethics of Enhanced Interrogations and Torture: A Reappraisal of the Argument

William O'Donohuea, Cassandra Snipesa, Georgia Daltoa, Cyndy Sotoa, Alexandros Maragakisa & Sungjin Im
Ethics & Behavior
Volume 24, Issue 2, 2014


This article critically reviews what is known about the ethical status of psychologists’ putative involvement with enhanced interrogations and torture (EITs). We examine three major normative ethical accounts (utilitarian, deontic, and virtue ethics) of EITs and conclude, contra the American Psychological Association, that reasonable arguments can be made that in certain cases the use of EITs is ethical and even, in certain circumstances, morally obligatory. We suggest that this moral question is complex as it has competing moral values involved, that is, the humane treatment of detainee competes with the ethical value/duty/virtue of protecting innocent third parties. We also suggest that there is an ethical duty to minimize harm by making only judicious and morally responsible allegations against the psychologists alleged to be involved in EITs. Finally, we make recommendations regarding completing the historical record, improvements in the professional ethics code, and the moral treatment of individuals accused in this controversy.

The entire article is here.