Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram. These are sinister names, that call to mind images of humiliation, harassment, and abuse perpetrated on detainees. Over the last decade these and other events have come to light and fed a debate that is surprising for its depth and dynamism, but also outrageous for the basic question that it addresses: is the legalization of torture legitimate and desirable? This is a knotty issue, which the authors tackle head on, insisting on the moral and legal urgency of finding an answer. And their answer is negative and allows no exceptions. The authors develop a review of the history and the doctrine of torture; they examine the dense network of arguments, principles, and theories employed to support or condemn it; they take stock of a topic that appeared to have been settled after the Enlightenment and instead has never been more relevant.
Massimo La Torre teaches Philosophy of Law at the University of Catanzaro and is a visiting professor at the University of Hull.
Marina Lalatta Costerbosa teaches Philosophy of Law at the University of Bologna.