The distribution of numbers and the comprehensiveness of reasons

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (2):207–233 (2005)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper, I concentrate on two themes: to what extent numbers bear on an agent's duties, and how numbers should relate to social policy. In the first half of the paper I consider the abstract case of a choice between saving two people and saving one, and my focus is on the contrast between a duty to act and a reason which merely makes an action intelligible. In the second half, I turn to the issue of social policy and investigate how if at all numbers can have a bearing there, if there is no obvious duty on individuals to save the greater number. My proposal is that it is not the bare numbers themselves (or even the ratio of claimants on either side of the dilemma) which explain our intuitions in such cases, but rather considerations of the extent to which each of us can make a reasonable claim on others. In short, I argue: numbers don't count, people do

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,698

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Viii*-the Distribution of Numbers and the Comprehensiveness of Reasons1.Veronique Munoz-Darde - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (2):207-233.
Taurek, numbers and probabilities.Rob Lawlor - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):149 - 166.
The New Problem of Numbers in Morality.Fiona Woollard - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):631-641.
The Numbers Count.Peter A. Graham - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):129-134.
Never Just Save the Few.Leora Urim Sung - 2022 - Utilitas 34 (3):275-288.
Against Hirose's Argument for Saving the Greater Number.Dong-Kyung Lee - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2):1-7.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
149 (#128,830)

6 months
6 (#737,493)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Veronique Munoz-Darde
University College London

Citations of this work

Each Counts for One.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
Impermissible yet Praiseworthy.Theron Pummer - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):697-726.
Pro Tanto Rights and the Duty to Save the Greater Number.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2023 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 13:190-214.
Partial aggregation in ethics.Joe Horton - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):1-12.
Never Just Save the Few.Leora Urim Sung - 2022 - Utilitas 34 (3):275-288.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Should the numbers count?John Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.

View all 10 references / Add more references