Minimizing Harm: Three Problems in Moral Theory

Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2002)

Abstract
Distance and morality. I argue that in "Faminine Ethics: the Problem of Distance in Morality and Singer's Ethical Theory" Frances Kamm fails to produce a pair of cases in which a moral difference is present that is not attributable to factors other than distance. I also point out that Kamm's attempts at explaining why distance could possibly matter in morality fall far short. I conclude that there is no reason for us to believe that distance matters in morality and offer an explanation for why it might nevertheless appear to us that it does---there are numerous factors, normally correlated with distance, that are of great moral significance. In the process I offer a few methodological remarks. ;The problem of numbers. I argue that John Taurek's conclusion in "Should the Numbers Count?" remains a viable alternative to the standard view of the role of numbers in morality. I claim that Taurek brings up valid concerns regarding the standard view, and that the objections that have so far been raised against Taurek's position are by far insufficient to remove it from contention. I then point out and try to address several problems, including the problem of very large numbers, which should be a concern to anyone who is sympathetic to Taurek's views. I do not claim to have the answers, but I suggest a direction in which one may look for a solution. ;The return of the trolley. I examine several purported solutions to the Trolley Problem and find them all severely deficient. In light of the systematic failure of efforts to solve the Trolley Problem, I suggest that perhaps no solution has been found because there is no solution to find. I proceed to give a positive argument for the claim that diverting the trolley is not morally permissible and try to give an explanation of how the intuitions of the majority could have been so deeply mistaken. Since my proposed "solution" relies heavily on the making/allowing distinction, I conclude with a discussion of that distinction and a defense of its moral significance
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 52,768
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The New Problem of Numbers in Morality.Fiona Woollard - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):631-641.
The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Trolley Problem.Whitley Kaufman - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (1):21-31.
Aggregation and Two Moral Methods.F. M. Kamm - 2005 - Utilitas 17 (1):1-23.
Boulders and Trolleys.D. W. Haslett - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (3):268-287.
The Moral Problem of Friendship.Matthew Angelo Tedesco - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder
Taurek, Numbers and Probabilities.Rob Lawlor - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):149 - 166.
The 'Now What' Problem for Error Theory.Matt Lutz - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):351-371.
Obligations of Nearness.Francesco Orsi - 2008 - Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (1):1-21.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-02-04

Total views
1 ( #1,427,110 of 2,341,549 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #514,645 of 2,341,549 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes