Torture: Brutal or Justified

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Alex Rowe Prof. Bunch ENGL 123-5 Paper 1 September 12, 2012 Torture: Brutal or Justified Michael Levin was born May 21, 1943. He studied at Columbia University and received a doctoral degree. His primary interests include epistemology, or the study of the limitations of knowledge, and the philosophy of race. Levin has written many papers on controversial issues, but one that stands out is "The Case For Torture” published in July of 1982. Here he describes the way that we as a society view torture. Levin provides vivid examples to persuade the reader to agree with his view that torture is necessary at times, and while I agree with his argument I don’t think he has strong sources to back up his argument. “It is generally assumed that torture is impermissible” (Levin 1). This word “impermissible” perfectly sums up what Levin is arguing against. Levin argues that even though society says torture is not allowed, in certain situations it becomes the only tool left to save innocent lives. He doesn’t condone the use of torture as a punishment; instead, he offers it as a way to avoid gambling with innocent lives. Levin is addressing the United States as a society. He gives examples of multiple terrorist attacks, which current readers can relate to because of 9/11. Of course he was not aware of this when the article was published, but that is why the issue makes the article more compelling. He describes an attack where a terrorist has a bomb on Manhattan Island (Levin 3). He asks us to put ourselves in this situation with the excellent use of pathos. This would lead readers to think about being a citizen on the island or even the ones holding the terrorist having to make the decision to torture the terrorist or not. He also provides another value of his that helps him get his point across about permitting torture. He says, “I am not advocating torture as

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