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The Ethics of KillingProblems at the Margins of Life$
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Jeff McMahan

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195079982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195079981.001.0001

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(p.95) 2 Death
The Ethics of Killing

Jeff McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Analyzes the badness of death for those who die. Argues that our intuitions about the comparative badness of different deaths are best justified if we abandon the idea that death should be evaluated in terms of its effect on the value of life as a whole. Instead, death should be evaluated in terms of the effect that it has on what the victim has reason to care about from an egoistic point of view at the time of death. Only in this way can we adequately explain why the death of a fetus or newborn infant is less bad than the death of an older child or adult.

Keywords:   death, egoistic concern, fetus, infant

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