Taking Life: Three Theories on the Ethics of Killing

Paperback | September 15, 2015

byTorbjorn Tannsjo

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When and why is it right to kill? When and why is it wrong? Torbjorn Tannsjo 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 ofhow 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 holdconsidered intuitions. In this volume, suitable for courses in ethics and applied ethics, Tannsjo 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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When and why is it right to kill? When and why is it wrong? Torbjorn Tannsjo 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, ...

Torbjorn Tannsjo 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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Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 8.11 × 5.51 × 1.1 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190225580

ISBN - 13:9780190225582

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgements1. Method2. Three Bold Conjectures3. The Trolley Cases4. Murder5. Capital Punishment6. Suicide7. Assisted Death8. Abortion9. Survival Lotteries10. Killing in War11. The Killing of Animals12. What Are We to Believe?ReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In this splendidly engaging book, Torbjorn Tannsjo 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 isto 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 Tannsjo makes impressive progress, which the readercan follow without difficulty, as the writing is lucid and accessible throughout." --Jeff McMahan, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford