ABSTRACT The article analyses from a philosophical point of view the bioethical and biopolitical implications of torture as an attempt to justify violence according to the (alleged) benefits for defending the State or obtaining information potentially useful for the prevention of a terrorist attack. The core argument of the paper is that the regulatory framework of the prohibition of torture would be strengthened establishing a qualitative definition of torture as the control of political authority over individual human life. Mentioning some claims appeared in the period after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the article shows that in the juridical and political debate torture has been increasingly defined in a quantitative way, basing it e.g., on the measure of pain and on the consequences for the victim. The Author then briefly describes bioethics and human rights perspective; main categories of biopolitics envisioned as politics over life are then sketched according to Foucault’s and Agamben’s views. Both bioethics and biopolitics, from different perspectives, deal with individual human life; a classical account (Aristotle’s one) of this issue offers the basis for a conceptualization useful to compare critically bioethical and biopolitical perspectives and to set a qualitative definition of torture. From this perspective, torture can be seen as violence on individual human life, aimed at the annihilation of the victim's identity and as an act of domination by political authority over the victim.
To its merit, Alessio Musio’s book gathers the main objections set forth by more conservative bioethical thinking towards assisted reproduction, and reframes them in a new perspective. The Author’s polemic objective is apparently surrogate motherhood (or gestation for others); but for Musio, surrogate motherhood is actually but the final stage in an almost irreversible process which, as assisted reproduction asserts itself, reduces the child born to a product. We shall demonstrate through a series of arguments that it is wrong to equate having a child via medically assisted reproduction techniques with mass-producing objects. Medically assisted reproduction techniques change our conception of birth not because they reduce generation into the production of goods, but because they place us in a state of looking after the wellbeing of those we put into the world from their conception. In the light of the technological revolution, it is no longer morally acceptable to keep opposing new generating methods in the name of an alleged ‘authenticity’ of ‘natural’ conception.