Killing and Saving: Abortion, Hunger, and War

By John P. Reeder Jr. | Go to book overview

Introduction

Contrary to Alasdair Maclntyre ( 1984) and others who assert that modern Western morality is in disarray, torn by incommensurable moral views, I believe there is much agreement at the level of "considered moral judgments" about taking and saving human lives. We have, in other words, a considerable overlap in regard to which sorts of killings are prohibited and which sorts of savings are required. Various traditions, theistic and nontheistic, have shaped Western morality and overlap on these crucial issues.

These overlaps in judgment amount to a moral tradition in their own right, a tradition that does not deny that part of our duty is to maximize the good (lives or the length and quality thereof) but that also constrains maximization within certain basic duties or rights.1 Alan Donagan ( 1977)

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1
The tradition usually never allows maximization to override basic duties or rights. Compare the view expressed by Nagel ( 1972) that maximization and basic duties or rights may simply constitute incommensurable moral considerations, one of which on certain occasions we may have to disregard.

-1-

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Killing and Saving: Abortion, Hunger, and War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Right Not to Be Killed and the Right to Be Saved 6
  • 2 - Yielding and Nothing is Lost 44
  • 3 - The Pursuer 75
  • 4 - Double Effect 106
  • 5 - Absolutism 154
  • Conclusion - A Modest Consensus 172
  • Appendix - Moral Status 177
  • Bibliography 204
  • Index 228
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