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The new problem of numbers in morality

The new problem of numbers in morality
The new problem of numbers in morality
Discussion of the “problem of numbers” in morality has focused almost exclusively on the moral significance of numbers in whom-to-rescue cases: when you can save either of two groups of people, but not both, does the number of people in each group matter morally? I suggest that insufficient attention has been paid to the moral significance of numbers in other types of case. According to common-sense morality, numbers make a difference in cases, like the famous Trolley Case, where we must choose whether to kill a person (or persons) as a side effect of saving a greater number. I argue that recognition of the role of numbers in killing cases forces us to reassess purported solutions to the problem of numbers.
numbers, number scepticism, taurek, kamm, munoz-dardé, trolley problem
1386-2820
631-641
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679

Woollard, Fiona (2014) The new problem of numbers in morality. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 17 (4), 631-641. (doi:10.1007/s10677-014-9496-x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Discussion of the “problem of numbers” in morality has focused almost exclusively on the moral significance of numbers in whom-to-rescue cases: when you can save either of two groups of people, but not both, does the number of people in each group matter morally? I suggest that insufficient attention has been paid to the moral significance of numbers in other types of case. According to common-sense morality, numbers make a difference in cases, like the famous Trolley Case, where we must choose whether to kill a person (or persons) as a side effect of saving a greater number. I argue that recognition of the role of numbers in killing cases forces us to reassess purported solutions to the problem of numbers.

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Woollard A New Problem of Numbers in Morality for ETMP.docx - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 September 2013
e-pub ahead of print date: 14 February 2014
Published date: August 2014
Keywords: numbers, number scepticism, taurek, kamm, munoz-dardé, trolley problem
Organisations: Philosophy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 381804
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/381804
ISSN: 1386-2820
PURE UUID: 16e191fb-6df8-4e73-ac58-1aa7bd49ba1d

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Date deposited: 13 Oct 2015 15:02
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 20:32

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