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About the author
Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Previous books include Constitutional Faith; Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies; and Wrestling with Diversity. A frequent contributor to academic and popular journals, he has also been a long-time reviewer for the History Book Club.
Torture is perhaps the most unequivocally banned practice in the world today. Yet recent photographs from Abu Ghraib substantiated claims that the United States and some of its allies are using methods of questioning relating to the war on terrorism that could be described as torture or, at the very least, as inhuman and degrading. In terror's wake, the use of such methods, at least under some conditions, has gained some prominent defenders, notably from within the White House. In this revised edition, Torture: A Collection brings together leading lawyers, political theorists, social scientists, and public intellectuals to debate the advisability of maintaining the absolute ban and to reflect on what it says about our societies if we do--or do not--adhere to it in all circumstances. New to this edition are essays by Charles Krauthammer and Andrew Sullivan on the adoption in 2005 of the McCain Amendment, which explicitly bars the use of torture and other cruel methods of interrogation.
Oxford University Press
; October 2004
328 pages; ISBN 9780199883868Read online
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Author: Sanford Levinson
What We Know - Boston Review
Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:37:30 -0700
What We KnowBoston ReviewAll of its components were given equal status, including â€œanti-torture rights,â€ socioeconomic rights, ...
In the press
"This superior collection of essays by 17 leading scholars provides a timely, penetrating investigation into this morally challenging but important topic.... It is a pleasure to read an edited book in which the chapters speak to each other. This is a well-crafted study in political ethics."--Choice
" Few of this book's contributors want to engage in polemics, and few--to their credit--ever seem completely comfortable with their own conclusions."--The New York Times Book Review
"[C]omprehensive and thought-provoking." --The American Lawyer
"Sanford Levinson has done us all a tremendous service in compiling this rich set of essays on a highly compelling and timely topic." -- Ethics and International Affairs
"Conceived wll before the Abu Ghraib story broke, Levinson's collection of essays by philosophers and lawyers provides a cooler, though not dispassionate, look at the issues surrounding torture. Contributors include Jean Bethke Elshtain, Richard Posner, Michael Walzer, and the inevitable Alan Dershowitz.... The collection considers the conditions under which torture might nonetheless be acceptable--notably, the 'ticking bomb' scenario, when the quick extraction of information can save many lives. Dershowitz argues that the normative case against torture remains strong but that under such conditions inhibitions will be overcome--and that it is best that any torturous interrogation be explicit and controlled. His critics denounce such a move as bringing torture into the realm of the legitimate. Other problems are raised, such as identifying the point at which pressure becomes torture."--Foreign Affairs
"Closely argued, well written, and quite readable, these essays jointly constitute a valuable contribution to the field."--Library Journal