Taking Life

Taking Life : Three Theories on the Ethics of Killing

3.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)

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When and why is it right to kill? When and why is it wrong? Torbjoern Tannsjoe examines three theories on the ethics of killing in this book: deontology, a libertarian moral rights theory, and utilitarianism. The implications of each theory are worked out for different kinds of killing: trolley-cases, murder, capital punishment, suicide, assisted death, abortion, killing in war, and the killing of animals. These implications are confronted with our
intuitions in relation to them, and our moral intuitions are examined in turn. Only those intuitions that survive an understanding of how we have come to hold them are seen as 'considered' intuitions. The idea is that the theory that can best explain the content of our considered intuitions gains inductive support from
them. We must transcend our narrow cultural horizons and avoid certain cognitive mistakes in order to hold considered intuitions. In this volume, suitable for courses in ethics and applied ethics, Tannsjoe argues that in the final analysis utilitarianism can best account for, and explain, our considered intuitions about all these kinds of killing.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 150 x 210 x 22mm | 342g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 illustration
  • 0190225580
  • 9780190225582
  • 1,831,378

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ; Preface ; Chapter 1. Method ; Chapter 2. Three Bold Conjectures ; Chapter 3. The Trolley Cases ; Chapter 4. Murder ; Chapter 5. Capital Punishment ; Chapter 6. Suicide ; Chapter 7. Assisted death ; Chapter 8. Abortion ; Chapter 9. Survival Lotteries ; Chapter 10. Killing In War ; Chapter 11. The Killing of Animals ; Chapter 12. What Are We to Believe? ; References ; Index
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Review quote

What this book does do admirably is give a demonstration of the process of trying to reconcile one's moral intuitions with what one has come to think as the overall best normative theory. * Anneli Jefferson, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice * Tannsjoe clearly details the salient aspects of each theory. He provides interesting discussions of topics such as the Doctrine of Double Effect, the Principle of Proportionality, together with a useful introduction to Just War Theory. The concise explanation of each dilemma and the practical application of the three theories repeatedly throughout the book appeals, since many students struggle to apply theories to cases and the rigorous repeated application
of the three theories could be very instructive. I also enjoyed rethinking familiar ethical dilemmas from a different perspective... * Charlotte A. Newey, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online * In this splendidly engaging book, Torbjoern Tannsjoe surveys a range of moral problems of killing - such as capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, war, and the killing of animals - through the lenses of three moral theories: deontology, rights theory, and utilitarianism. His main aim is to find the true theory by testing the three candidates' implications against considered intuitions about the problems (and a provisional winner does emerge). But
he also aims to reach the truth about the problems. These are ambitious aims but Tannsjoe makes impressive progress, which the reader can follow without difficulty, as the writing is lucid and accessible throughout. * Jeff McMahan, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford *
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About Torbjorn Tannsjo

Torbjoern Tannsjoe is Kristian Claeson Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University. He has published extensively in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and medical ethics.
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Rating details

3.5 out of 5 stars
- 6 ratings
5 17% (1)
4 50% (3)
3 17% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 17% (1)
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