Resource Companion

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Torture—Is It Ever Ethical?


Part I: Resource Companion


Instructions: Complete this section of the Organizer as you are exploring the resources to take notes on each philosopher’s ideas and how they might apply to the issue of torture. Using your own words, respond to the following questions.


1. Michael Sandel identifies two types of moral reasoning. What are they? Briefly describe each.


2. What is the “principle of utility” according to Mill?



3. Explain what Mill means by “utilitarianism.” What kind of moral reasoning does it use?



4. What do “categorical” and “imperative” mean?



5. Explain what Kant means by the “categorical imperative.” What kind of moral reasoning does this use?



6. Use the table below to apply each philosophy to the use of torture.


What would each philosopher conclude about the ethics of using torture? 



Why would he say that? (In other words, what’s your evidence?) 







7. Which philosopher do you agree with? Why?



Part II: Article Analysis


Instructions: Read the following three articles:

· “In Defense of Torture” by Sam Harris

· “‘Because It Is Wrong:’ A Meditation on Torture,” with Charles and Gregory Fried

· “Rules Should Govern Torture, Dershowitz Says,” with Alan Dershowitz


8. Use the table below to analyze each article.


 In Defense of Torture“Because It Is Wrong:” A Meditation on TortureRules Should Govern Torture, Dershowitz Says
What ethical arguments are being made?   
What evidence is being given?   
What kind of moral reasoning is being used? Which philosopher would likely support it?   
Are there any flaws or holes in the argument? How could you argue against it?   



Part III: Rough Draft


Instructions: Write a rough draft of your article. Save a copy that you can submit later. Your article should include the following:

· Overview of the ideas of Mill and Kant as they relate to ethics

· Discussion of what Mill and Kant would say about torture

· Analysis of the three articles

· Comparison of the authors’ positions and the positions of Mill and Kant


Note that your article must represent your own work and be expressed in your own words. If you use someone else’s words, you need to quote them and cite your source using APA format.


Part IV: Writing Editing Form


Instructions: Write and polish a final draft. Use this Writing Editing Form to track the critique of your own work and explain major revisions you make from your rough draft to your final draft.


Before you make any revisions, read and review your rough draft. Focus on things like content and organization—don’t worry about spelling and mechanics just yet. Then, using the chart below, identify the three most important aspects of your writing that work well in your draft. Next, identify the three most important aspects of your writing that need more work. Be specific.


Works WellNeeds More Work



Once you have identified your changes, begin revising your rough draft. Once you have finished making your major changes, proofread to check for errors in spelling and mechanics. Finally, use the chart below to give three examples of sentences that you changed for your final draft.


Sentence Before EditingSentence After Editing




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