Comment »Posted on Monday 15 June 2009 at 1:18 pm by Jessica Bland
In Getting It Wrong

In the posted version of my article on torture, I made a mistake. I misdescribed Dr. Basoglu’s definition of torture. He had corrected this previously, and he rightly pulled me up for posting the unchanged version:

Therefore, Basoglu argues, the definition of torture used in International law should be modified. “It would be based on four parameters” Intent, purpose and removal of control are all widely-accepted criteria for torture. But Basoglu adds a fourth criterion: “multiple stressors must be present.” So, both combinations of physical events and psychologically stressful situations would constitute torture under this definition.

Basoglu’s correction was:

“Intent and purpose are widely accepted criteria for torture but removal of control is not…It is (a) multiple stressors that interact with each other and (b) removal of control that define the contextual characteristics of captivity settings. It is these two criteria based on learning theory formulation of torture trauma that make the proposed definition novel and evidence-based.”

That is to say, it is not just the fourth of the parameters that is novel. It is also the third. And together they provide a contextual definition of torture.

I hope this will be one of the only times that Just A Theory bloggers tag their own writing with the ‘getting it wrong’ tab…..

My apologies to Dr. Basoglu and to anyone who read the uncorrected text.


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