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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.189) 3 Killing
The Ethics of Killing

Jeff McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Seeks to understand why killing is normally wrong. It argues that there is no single, unitary explanation of the wrongness of killing. It begins by considering the morality of killing animals and contends that there is no morally significant intrinsic difference between all human beings on the one hand and all other animals on the other. The reason why killing an animal is morally objectionable appeals solely to considerations of interests. But killing a rational, self‐conscious being is wrong because it involves a failure of respect for that individual as a rational being. The morality of killing a fetus is governed by the same principles that govern the killing of an animal.

Keywords:   animals, killing, respect, wrongness of killing

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