Suffering and Moral Responsibility

Paperback | May 16, 2002

byJamie Mayerfeld

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In this original study, Jamie Mayerfeld undertakes a careful inquiry into the meaning and moral significance of suffering. Understanding suffering in hedonistic terms as an affliction of feeling, he addresses difficulties associated with its identification and measurement. He then turns to anexamination of the duty to relieve suffering: its content, its weight relative to other moral considerations, and the role it should play in our lives. Among the claims defended in the book are that suffering needs to be distinguished from both physical pain and the frustration of desire, that interpersonal comparisons of the intensity of happiness and suffering are possible, that several psychological processes hinder our awareness of otherpeople's suffering, and that the prevention of suffering should often be pursued indirectly. Mayerfeld concludes his discussion by arguing that the reduction of suffering is morally more important than the promotion of happiness, and that most of us greatly underestimate the force of the duty toprevent suffering. As the first systematic book-length inquiry into the moral significance of suffering, Suffering and Moral Responsibility makes an important contribution to moral philosophy and political theory, and will interest specialists in each of these areas.

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In this original study, Jamie Mayerfeld undertakes a careful inquiry into the meaning and moral significance of suffering. Understanding suffering in hedonistic terms as an affliction of feeling, he addresses difficulties associated with its identification and measurement. He then turns to anexamination of the duty to relieve suffering...

Jamie Mayerfeld is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington.

other books by Jamie Mayerfeld

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.09 × 5.98 × 0.71 inPublished:May 16, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195154959

ISBN - 13:9780195154955

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Meaning of Suffering3. The Measurement of Suffering4. The Moral Significance of Suffering5. The Duty to Relieve Suffering6. The Moral Asymmetry of Happiness and Suffering7. Trade-offs Internal to the Duty to Relieve Suffering8. The Limits of the Duty to Relieve SufferingNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book combines exacting, nuanced argumentation with a practical purpose that sets it apart from much work in philosophical ethics. At its best, it sharply focuses our attention on the experiences of both fictional and nonfictional individuals, variously placed along a hedonisticcontinuum, to illustrate the moral meaning of happiness and suffering." --Review of Metaphysics