Objections and Conceptions of Moral Equivalence

F. M. Kamm

in Morality, Mortality Volume II: Rights, Duties, and Status

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780195144024
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870998 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

 Objections and Conceptions of Moral Equivalence

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The first section of Ch. 3 is concerned with objections and alternatives to the arguments and analyses presented in the first two chapters on the moral equivalence of killing and letting die. Two issues are dealt with first: the issue of self‐ownership and the negative/positive rights distinction, and the issue of per se moral differences only sometimes making a difference in kill and let‐die cases depending on contexts. The relation that there might be between the killing/letting‐die distinction and the intention/foresight distinction (whose moral significance is described by the Doctrine of Double Effect) is considered. Particular attention is paid to the objections Shelly Kagan has made to the author's proposals and to the alternative views on positive and negative agency that Warren Quinn developed. The second section of the chapter returns to examine the stronger and weaker notions of per se moral equivalence, their differential relation to the moral equivalence of cases, and what they reveal about explanation in ethics and aesthetics.

Keywords: aesthetics; alternatives; conceptions; context; Doctrine of Double Effect; ethics; intention vs foresight; Shelly Kagan; kill and let‐die cases; killing and letting die; killing vs letting‐die; moral differences; moral equivalence; moral significance; negative vs positive rights; objections; positive and negative agency; Warren Quinnself‐ownership

Chapter.  13273 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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