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Intricate EthicsRights, Responsibilities, and Permissible Harm$
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F. M. Kamm

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189698.001.0001

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Harming People in Peter Unger’s Living High and Letting Die

Harming People in Peter Unger’s Living High and Letting Die

Chapter:
(p.190) 6 Harming People in Peter Unger’s Living High and Letting Die
Source:
Intricate Ethics
Author(s):

F. M. Kamm

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189698.003.0007

Peter Unger has tried to show that relying on intuitive judgments is a worthless methodology for finding principles, and he has also offered a novel approach to the Trolley Problem. Unger, however, deals not only with the questions of when may we harm some to help others and how we can best reason about this issue. He also considers how much we must sacrifice in order to stop strangers from suffering serious losses and whether our distance from them alters our obligations. Unger's ground for claiming that intuitive judgments in cases are worthless is that we can construct cases that generate the opposite intuitive judgments. He thinks that we must decide which intuitive judgments are correct and what to do by consulting general moral values, such as the importance of reducing suffering and death. This chapter examines Peter Unger's views on the permissibility of harming innocent bystanders and the duty to harm ourselves in order to aid others.

Keywords:   Peter Unger, intuitive judgments, harm, moral values, suffering, death, permissibility, innocent bystanders, Trolley Problem, losses

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