David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):235 - 247 (2006)
Everyone agrees that killing a fully developed person is normally wrong. And there is similar agreement that death is bad for the one who dies, though philosophers have been puzzled about how to explain this.2 But how is the wrongness of killing related to the badness of dying? The trivial answer is that killing is wrong precisely because it inflicts the badness of death upon the victim. Or, to put it another way, killing is wrong because it harms the victim by causing all that is bad about death. This is the harm-based view of the morality of killing. This view can seem platitudinous once we consider the link between the wrongness of killing and the badness of dying. Rejecting the harm-based view seems to involve severing that link, whereas many people are initially inclined to imagine that there must be some important connection between the two. Nonetheless, the harm-based view has several rivals.3 According to one of these, the respect-based view, killing is wrong not because of the harm it causes, but..
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