Justifying too much: is Utilitarianism a moral theory at all?

Bob Brecher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


I argue that, were the utilitarian arguments for the use of interrogational torture in so-called ticking bomb scenarios sound, then they would also sanction the torture of people known to be wholly innocent. So either utilitarian arguments are unsound in their own terms; or, if sound, they suggest that utilitarianism is not a moral theory at all.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterrogation and torture
Subtitle of host publicationresearch on its efficacy and its integration with legality and morality
EditorsS. Barela, M. Fallon, G. Gaggioli, D. Ohlin
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • interrogational torture
  • ticking bomb
  • utilitarianism


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