Suffering and Moral Responsibility

Suffering and Moral Responsibility

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This book is about the duty to relieve suffering. Jamie Mayerfield argues that this duty is far stronger than most of us acknowledge - an argument with far-reaching implications for how we should live. He begins by offering an account of the meaning of suffering. From there he moves on to a discussion of the measurement and moral significance of suffering. Mayerfield argues that the prima facie duty (which may be overridden by other duties) to relieve suffering arises directly from the badness of suffering. The alleviation of suffering, he claims, is morally more important than the promotion of happiness. He goes on to examine the proper resolution of trade-offs internal to the duty to relieve suffering: e.g., what should we do when we can eliminate the suffering of one group of people or another, but not both? Finally, Mayerfield addresses the question of how to identify those occasions when the relief of suffering is not morally required or is indeed more

Product details

  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 161 x 237.2 x 20.3mm | 544.32g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195115996
  • 9780195115994

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. The Meaning of Suffering ; 3. The Measurement of Suffering ; 4. The Moral Significance of Suffering ; 5. The Duty to Relieve Suffering ; 6. The Moral Asymmetry of Happiness and Suffering ; 7. Trade-offs Internal to the Duty to Relieve Suffering ; 8. The Limits of the Duty to Relieve Suffering ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Review quote

Those who want their morality tough, demanding, and impersonal will find much to like in Jamie Mayerfeld's Suffering and Moral Responsibility ... Mayerfeld's book is an important one ... the overall effect of the book is a haunting challenge to us all to come to grips with what suffering is and what our moral responsibilities are to alleviating it. Few will leave the book inspired, but many sobered, and that is an achievment. * Mind * His [Meyerfeld's] main argument is highly plausible ... Meyerfeld's approach will appeal to many moral philosophers who find consequentialism theoretically untenable, yet are convinced that morality requires much more of us than common sense recognizes. In offering a sustained argument along these relatively unexplored lines, Suffering and Moral Responsibility is well worth the attention of anyone interested in the morality of suffering. * Australasian Journal of Philosophy *show more

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