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Torture: Weber vs. Durkheim 18/03/2013 22:06:00 ← 1.Torture: some recent examples ← 2.Torture as concept ← 3.can torture be justified? ← 4.a Weberian argument ← 5.a Durkheimian counter-argument ← 6.what is the Durkheimian counter-argument missing? the tests will be true/false and mc and only on authority not cumulative and you are responsible for lecture and readings. The night we write the test we will get the position papers. - Stephen Lukes in 2005 was the time in Iraq and reports show that the US was engaged in torture and his writings was about weather torture can be ever justified. it deals with the question of moral authority and plots weber against Durkheim like a position paper pitting two thinkers together so it gives you example of these thinkers and thoughts that you can address as issues in affairs. Luke’s at the beginning in his article takes a jab at philosophers that argue even whether to consider torture is admissible is wrong because even if raising the question leads to morality. Luke thinks we should have good faith when it comes to politics. 1. Philippines in the mid 90s- phillepene authorities tortured reporters and they say that to torture is to avoid these events such as cashing of airplane and killing the pope. They tortured by beating the suspect with wood and crushed lighted cigarettes into his private parts and after employing this procedure they gave him to the American authorities after receiving information that could be life saving 2. the concept is the inflicting excruciating pain. In this case it is different than criminal torture and Luke’s is not interested in that rather the practice of torture by the state and used examples in Algeria in 1962 when the north colony who wanted to throw the French out of the country and the French used torture in that case. The Israeli states sometimes find opponents to their regime and than use torture. This can be done by individual or state. The torture can be either psychological or physical so this means to humiliate someone it is a psychological torture 3. the central question that Luke’s is asking is that can liberal democrats justify using torture? There is some who believes that it is wrong on all accounts. There are also people in civil society like groups called amnesty international who are against it and it is a international NGO where they are interested in human rights issues. Let’s say the military authority has a suspect in custody and they believe that a attack is going to take place and they believe that the suspect has information that could allow them to save countless innocent lives. Some who look at the pros and cons some would say it could be justified since it is allowing the lives of many to be saved so would it be morally okay to engage to do this when it comes to the state to protect people? Luke’s says that this is not a good way to fix the problem. He says that in practice prisoners who are held by state would ever have such information and it would be difficult for those being tortured to know what lives are being saved. He says that it should not be taken too seriously and how would the authorities know that this person would have this kind of information? 4. when we read Weber we saw that he is not a sentimental thinker since if you look at his definition of the state. He says the sate is holding monopoly by the use of violence and it’s a central definition of the state. when you read politics as a vocation you will see weber viewing politics as a tragic view since he believes that those who get involved in politics sometimes have to accept that in order to achieve the society in a green light future they have to use dirty means and that is a reality of political life. - Lukes: according to weber anyone who chooses to engage in politics lets themselves in for the diabolitics use of violence where weber says the world is governed by demons- weber is saying do not fool yourself that if you engage in good actions good happens and that is false. He says that we have to recognize that doing things that may be good can have evil consequences. Weber than continues that when we enter politics we enter a grey zone where if we are good we will achieve positive goods. The idea is that if one is serious for politics than one has to be okay with using dirty means in order to achieve good ends than it could imply that torture is okay for certain circumstances. 5. Lukes: lukes draws on a episode on a French history where Durkheim was involved where he took a stance. The historical context was in 1892-1894 a Jewish captain was found guilty of treason (passing secrets to the enemy). in 1896 new evidence emerges and in 1898 a new trial is made and this general is off the hook. A couple of issues: Who did it? the question of anti-Semitism. This is a question that divided the French society where it had two sides where on one side people though it was a good trial and they were after a whole fuss and sociologically the anti people were the traditionalists who were on the right. The people who were part of Dreyfus thought he was not triad fair because he was a Jewish or many thought the church had too much power in their hands, people who did not believe the military was a valuable institution that should be trusted. Those against Dreyfus thought that it made a huge disadvantage to French society by re-opening this since it brings chaos no matter if he was innocent or not. Those who were anti were conservatives as they anted to uphold unity and traditional French society. Zola was another novelist thought that Dreyfus was held unfairly and because of it he had to flee from authority because of his beliefs. A new trial was held later and Dreyfus was innocent where he had been framed. - the conservatives- the believed in strong unity especially after going through so many regime changes after the French revolution. This is France that is unstable internally and Europe was losing dominance and these are certain things that nationalist had in mind. - Durkheim – the anti – Dreyfus had it all wrong when they talked about the importance of unity. He said that those days are gone and increasingly in modern society the military, the church, ariscrosity – these institutions don’t have the same moral authority and they cannot bring people into agreement like before. He than says that these traditional institutions may not have the power to hold people is the new religion which is not church based but it is a society based, and the argument where he comes with is: he says the problem is that in disrespecting the rights of Dreyfus is actually disrespecting individualism and they are going at it the wrong way to maintain unity. One has to pay homage to the new cult which is individual like individual freed
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