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Torture And Utilitarianism

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Chapter Summary

Human beings have showed great intelligence and creativity in their frenzied efforts to conquer their fellow human beings. While ancient China boasted a great variety of torture methods, such as Lingchi, the ancient West was not a halfpenny the worse in this respect. In the course of the 20th century, all forms of torture in the Chinese law had been abolished. However, China has never terminated the utilitarian logic of torture. It is utilitarianism, rather than the legal institution, that supports torture. On many occasions, people torture 'enemies' to express their political enthusiasm or to give vent to their religious-like emotions. The history and current situations of torture have revealed not only the question of whether the human nature is good or bad, but also the question of whether the nature of an ethics or institution is good or bad.

Keywords: Chinese law; contemporary China; emotional colour; torture; utilitarian ethics; utilitarianism



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