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Fritz Allhoff

Why Talk about Ticking Time-Bombs?

Ticking time-bomb cases have played a tremendous role in discourse regarding the moral status of interrogational torture.  In terms of the philosophical literature, an early formulation owes to a seminal essay by Henry Shue:


[S]uppose a fanatic, perfectly willing to die rather than collaborate in the thwarting of his own scheme, has set a hidden nuclear device to explode in the heart of Paris.  There is no time to evacuate the innocent people or even the movable art treasures—the only hope of preventing tragedy is to torture the perpetrator, find the device, and deactivate it.


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