Thursday, July 21, 2005

my students will torture your sorry ass

My advanced class, along with working in the Interchange 3 textbook, handles a lot of higher-level cognitive material. I'm particularly fond of giving them moral dilemmas along the lines of what you can find in the Book of Questions series, as well as conundra (a.k.a. lateral thinking puzzles).

One moral dilemma, the so-called "Dirty Harry Dilemma," evokes 1971's "Dirty Harry," a cop movie starring Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, a homicide detective not above circumventing the law to get the job done. At one point, Callahan catches the kidnapper of a girl whose time is running out: she's stuck somewhere with a limited air supply. Dirty Harry resorts to torturing the criminal to find the girl. Was Harry justified in using torture?

My students gave Harry a resounding yes. Torture, they concluded, is messy and illegal and all the rest, but if it's the most efficient means for finding urgently needed information, then all bets are off, baby.

If, after kidnapping some girl, you ever find yourself held captive by one of my students, don't count on being interrogated nicely.

NB: I should've been asleep two hours ago, but dammit, I forgot I had more shit to do. God, it never ends.


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