Torture, Necessity and Supreme Emergency: Law and Morality at the End of Law
Zachary R. Calo
Valparaiso University Law School
May 18, 2009
Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 1591, 2009
This paper employs Michael Walzer's concept of "Supreme Emergency" to address the permissibility of torture under conditions of necessity. It proposes moving beyond both utilitarian and deontological approaches to legal authority in order to understood necessity as a moral category. A full account of right action under conditions of necessity therefore demands taking account of the distinct yet cooperative function provided by legal and moral norms. A political official might therefore possess moral but not legal warrant to act in contravention of binding legal norms. Preserving the validity of law is essential to the economy of social reconstitution in the aftermath of political tragedy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Walzer, Torture, Supreme Emergency, Necessity, Ethics, Morality, Punishment, JudgmentAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 22, 2009 ; Last revised: June 16, 2012
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