Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 455–461 | Cite as

Enhanced Interrogation, Consequential Evaluation, and Human Rights to Health

  • Benedict S. B. ChanEmail author
Critical Response


Balfe argues against enhanced interrogation. He particularly focuses on the involvement of U.S. healthcare professionals in enhanced interrogation. He identifies several empirical and normative factors and argues that they are not good reasons to morally justify enhanced interrogation. I argue that his argument can be improved by making two points. First, Balfe considers the reasoning of those healthcare professionals as utilitarian. However, careful consideration of their ideas reveals that their reasoning is consequential rather than utilitarian evaluation. Second, torture is a serious human rights abuse. When healthcare professionals become involved in enhanced interrogation, they violate not only human rights against torture but also human rights to health. Considering the consequential reasoning against human rights abuses, healthcare professionals’ involvement in enhanced interrogation is not morally justified. Supplementing Balfe’s position with these two points makes his argument more complete and convincing, and hence it can contribute to the way which shows that enhanced interrogation is not justified by consequential evaluation.


Enhanced interrogation Torture Healthcare professionals Consequential evaluation Utilitarianism Human rights to health 



The author would like to thank Dr. Isaac Chun-Hai Fung, Ms. Calista Lam and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.

Compliance with ethical standards


Research related to this article has been funded by the Early Career Scheme from the University Grants Committee, Hong Kong S.A.R., China (No. 22611516) from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019. The project title is “A Philosophical Investigation of the Ethics of Human Rights to Health.” This article does not represent the official positions of the University Grants Committee or Hong Kong S.A.R. Government.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religion and Philosophy, Centre of Applied EthicsHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloonHong Kong

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