Killing and Equality

Utilitas 7 (1):1-29 (1995)
Jeff McMahan
Oxford University
Although the belief that killing is normally wrong is as universal and uncontroversial a moral belief as we are likely to find, no one, to my knowledge, has ever offered an account of why killing is wrong that even begins to do justice to the full range of common sense beliefs about the morality of killing. Yet such an account would be of considerable practical significance, since understanding why some killings are wrong should help us to determine the conditions in which killing is not wrong. For, in those cases in which the reasons why killing is wrong do not apply, killing may be permissible or, if there are positive reasons that favour it, even morally required
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820800001813
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