Chapter

Killing

Jeff McMahan

in The Ethics of Killing

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195079982
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833443 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195079981.003.0003

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

Killing

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Seeks to understand why killing is normally wrong. It argues that there is no single, unitary explanation of the wrongness of killing. It begins by considering the morality of killing animals and contends that there is no morally significant intrinsic difference between all human beings on the one hand and all other animals on the other. The reason why killing an animal is morally objectionable appeals solely to considerations of interests. But killing a rational, self‐conscious being is wrong because it involves a failure of respect for that individual as a rational being. The morality of killing a fetus is governed by the same principles that govern the killing of an animal.

Keywords: animals; killing; respect; wrongness of killing

Chapter.  48018 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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