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Lecture

torture lec notes.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC203H1
Professor
jackveulgers
Semester
Winter

Description
March 18th - Lecture Notes Torture Weber vs Durkheim 1. Torture: some recent examples US military actions in Iraq 2. Torture as a concept Inflicting excruciating pain. We are talking about the practice of torture by States, not criminal torture (sadistic individuals). Isreali state engages in torture. Torture might either be psychological or physical. 3. Can torture be justified Central question that Lukes is asking (interested in liberal democratic states) can these states justify the use of torture? Amnesty international is opposed to all forms of torture, no matter the case. Ticking bomb argument - police has a suspect in custody, authorities have reason to believe that an attack is going to take place in a pre-determined place. They also believe that the suspect knows about the attack, and if the information can be extracted from the statistic, the police can prevent the attack and save innocent lives. Wouldn't it make sense/justified, morally, to save those lives if they have that option? Lukes says this is not a very good way of posing the problem - why? In practice, it is not likely that the prisoner will ever have this information. How can authorities been 100% sure that the suspect actually has the information? 4. A Weberian argument State definition - they have monopoly control over the means of violence. Those who become involved in politics, sometimes in practice, have to accept that in order to achieve, to nudge society to adopt his views, have to sometimes adopt unsavoury means. Doing things that we think are good can have evil consequences and vice-versa. 5. A Durkheimian counter-argument in 1894, a Jewish captain named Dreyfus was found guilty for treason, passing secrets to the enemy. New evidence emerges that is accusing a major general. A new trial is conducted and the major general is acquitted immediately. But it was impossible for a Jew in France in those days to have a fair trial - so who did it? March 18th - Lecture Notes People who sympathised with Dreyfus were Left, socialists, anti-traditionalists, people who did not believe the military was a venerable institution which should be trusted completely. People who were against Dreyfus were right (the opposite
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