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Reading: How convincing a case does Taurek make that one has no duty to save the greater number?

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How convincing a case does Taurek make that one has no duty to save the greater number?

Author:

Ragini Dua

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
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Abstract

In this paper, I consider John Taurek’s arguments against the common-sense intuition that when faced with a choice between saving different groups of people, special considerations aside, one ought to save as many people as possible. He is partly successful insofar as he highlights that our moral intuitions change when we consider a choice between saving one person that we know and like, and saving five strangers. If saving the greater number is a genuine moral duty, he argues, it should not be overridden so easily. However, Taurek’s justification that a person is permitted to save one rather than five on the basis that the one would be permitted to choose his own life over the lives of five others also leads to some counterintuitive results. This paper does not attempt to defend a duty to save the greater number, but simply considers how to get out of the deadlock that results from Taurek’s attack on this claim. 

How to Cite: Dua, R., 2019. How convincing a case does Taurek make that one has no duty to save the greater number?. Rerum Causae, 10(1), pp.44–49.
Published on 11 Sep 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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