Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):149 - 166 (2006)

Authors
Rob Lawlor
University of Leeds
Abstract
In his paper, “Should the Numbers Count?" John Taurek imagines that we are in a position such that we can either save a group of five people, or we can save one individual, David. We cannot save David and the five. This is because they each require a life-saving drug. However, David needs all of the drug if he is to survive, while the other five need only a fifth each.Typically, people have argued as if there was a choice to be made: either numbers matter, in which case we should save the greater number, or numbers don't matter, but rather there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, and therefore we should toss a coin. My claim is that we do not have to make a choice in this way. Rather, numbers do matter, but it doesn't follow that we should always save the greater number. And likewise, there is moral value in giving each person an equal chance of survival, but it doesn't follow that we should always toss a coin.
Keywords aggregation  numbers  probabilities  saving lives  Taurek  weighing goods
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-005-9004-4
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References found in this work BETA

Should the Numbers Count?John Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.
Comparing Harms: Headaches and Human Lives.Alastair Norcross - 1997 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 26 (2):135-167.
Innumerate Ethics.Derek Parfit - 1978 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 7 (4):285-301.
Speed Limits, Human Lives, and Convenience: A Reply to Ridge.Alastair Norcross - 1998 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1):59-64.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Defence of Weighted Lotteries in Life Saving Cases.Ben Saunders - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (3):279-290.
Numbers Scepticism, Equal Chances and Pluralism: Taurek Revisited.Gerald Lang & Rob Lawlor - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (3):298-315.
Taurek's No Worse Claim.Weyma Lübbe - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):69–85.
In Defense of Batman: Reply to Bradley.Gerald Lang & Rob Lawlor - 2013 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3):1-7.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

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Should the Numbers Count?John Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.

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