Absolutism and its Limits

Journal of Moral Philosophy 21 (1-2):170-189 (2023)
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Abstract

Many philosophers think that given the choice between saving the life of an innocent person and averting any number of minor ailments or inconveniences, it would be better to save the life. How, then, should one compare the risk of an innocent person’s life to such minor ailments and inconveniences? If lives are infinitely more important than insignificant factors then any risk cannot be outweighed, and that is untenable. An alternative approach seems more promising: let the values of such insignificant factors be bounded, as then there will be well-behaved tradeoffs between insignificant things and the risk to an innocent life. We argue, however, that bounding the values of insignificant factors poses myriad problems.

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Author Profiles

John Hawthorne
Australian Catholic University
Clayton Littlejohn
Australian Catholic University
Yoaav Isaacs
Baylor University

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References found in this work

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
In Defense of Fanaticism.Hayden Wilkinson - 2022 - Ethics 132 (2):445-477.
Should the numbers count?John Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.
Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):178-198.

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