Princeton professor: 'I ought to torture a terrorist' to save New York

Ben-Peter Terpstra
‘Peter Singer may be the most controversial philosopher alive; he is certainly among the most influential.' -New Yorker

Professor Peter Singer. Self-identified vegan. World-famous liberal philosopher. Educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Praised by New York's elites. And...pro-torture?

Difficult as it is to fathom, Singer's views on torture are closer to Dick Cheney's than Obama's.

In The life you can save - Acting now to end world poverty (2009) he writes (pages 165 and 166):

Take the basic argument that torture is always wrong. Given the well-documented tendency of police and guards to abuse prisoners, and the low probability that torture will yield significant information, that rule seems likely to have the best consequences. Yet, I would argue, if I find myself in the highly improbable scenario where only torturing a terrorist will enable me to stop a nuclear bomb from going off in the middle of New York, I ought to torture the terrorist. What the individual ought to do, and what the best moral rule directs one to do, are not necessarily identical.

In other words: Yes, we can.

Granted, if liberal New Yorkers - God forbid - were under nuclear threat, then what would happen to 80 percent of Singer's fan base? ("Smart stuff," I said when reading his Jack Bauer-like arguments. "This guy knows his market.") 

To make things more interesting (see back cover):

All author royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Oxfam.  

For the record though, the Princeton philosopher didn't reveal his preferred information-extraction techniques.

I'd suggest the "torture kit" used in "24" to save lives. Read 24 The Ultimate Guide.
‘Peter Singer may be the most controversial philosopher alive; he is certainly among the most influential.' -New Yorker

Professor Peter Singer. Self-identified vegan. World-famous liberal philosopher. Educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Praised by New York's elites. And...pro-torture?

Difficult as it is to fathom, Singer's views on torture are closer to Dick Cheney's than Obama's.

In The life you can save - Acting now to end world poverty (2009) he writes (pages 165 and 166):

Take the basic argument that torture is always wrong. Given the well-documented tendency of police and guards to abuse prisoners, and the low probability that torture will yield significant information, that rule seems likely to have the best consequences. Yet, I would argue, if I find myself in the highly improbable scenario where only torturing a terrorist will enable me to stop a nuclear bomb from going off in the middle of New York, I ought to torture the terrorist. What the individual ought to do, and what the best moral rule directs one to do, are not necessarily identical.

In other words: Yes, we can.

Granted, if liberal New Yorkers - God forbid - were under nuclear threat, then what would happen to 80 percent of Singer's fan base? ("Smart stuff," I said when reading his Jack Bauer-like arguments. "This guy knows his market.") 

To make things more interesting (see back cover):

All author royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Oxfam.  

For the record though, the Princeton philosopher didn't reveal his preferred information-extraction techniques.

I'd suggest the "torture kit" used in "24" to save lives. Read 24 The Ultimate Guide.