Chapter

Is It Right to Save the Greater Number?

F. M. Kamm

in Morality, Mortality Volume I: Death and Whom to Save From It

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780195119114
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195119118.003.0007

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

 Is It Right to Save the Greater Number?

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In the situation that we have to choose between the numbers of lives saved (is it right to save the greater number?), Ch. 6 argues against the existence of the conflict between considerations of the right (e.g. justice, fairness) and considerations of the good (e.g. maximizing lives saved). This is the aggregation argument put forward in Ch. 5. The argument is presented in two ways: the modest way is to show that considerations of the right do not demand equal chances; the strong way is to show that considerations of the right require us to count numbers of lives in order to save the greater number and to engage in substitution of lives that are equivalents from a certain perspective. In discussing the modest approach, consideration is given to what makes a policy unfair and the significance of the distinction between direct and indirect need for aid.

Keywords: aggregation argument; counting numbers of lives saved; direct vs indirect need for aid; equal chances; fairness; good; justice; maximizing lives saved; number of lives saved; right; saving lives; substitution of equivalent lives; unfairness

Chapter.  14412 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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