John P. Birkelund Fellow in the Humanities.
No one can deny that the abolition of torture is a milestone on the path towards a civilized society. But how did this hallmark decision occur? J. M. Bernstein, a philosopher at the New School for Social Research, will investigate that question in his project "Torture and Dignity." His thesis: The abolition of torture reflects a deeper ethical development that bestows the body with a different meaning: as belonging to an inviolable individual. This awareness illustrates first and foremost that pain has a meaning, transforming its deliberate causes it into immoral acts.