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Weighing lives

Author: John Broome
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"We are often faced with choices that involve the weighing people's lives against each other, or the weighing of lives against other good things. These are choices both for individuals and for societies. A person who is terminally ill may have to choose between palliative care and more aggressive treatment, which will give her a longer life but at some cost in suffering. We have to choose between the convenience to  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John Broome
ISBN: 019924376X 9780199243761
OCLC Number: 56877091
Description: ix, 278 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Weighing lives --
Some technical matters --
Right and good --
Features of goodness --
Quantities of lifetime wellbeing --
Quantities of temporal wellbeing --
Separability of times --
Separability of lives --
Same-number aggregation --
The neutral level for existence --
Nonstandard betterness --
Indeterminate betterness --
Separability of people --
The standardized total principle --
Same-lifetime aggregation --
A life worth living --
The value of a life --
The theory of weighing lives.
Responsibility: John Broome.
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Abstract:

How should we weigh lives? This book develops a theoretical basis for answering this practical question. It examines many of the issues of contemporary moral theory: the nature of consequentialism  Read more...

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An engrossing book which is a model of clarity, elegance, and rigour. Written, as good philosophy should be, as a contribution to a joint enterprise, it sets out a bold position in a way that invites Read more...

 
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   schema:reviewBody ""We are often faced with choices that involve the weighing people's lives against each other, or the weighing of lives against other good things. These are choices both for individuals and for societies. A person who is terminally ill may have to choose between palliative care and more aggressive treatment, which will give her a longer life but at some cost in suffering. We have to choose between the convenience to ourselves of road and air travel, and the lives of the future people who will be killed by the global warming we cause, through violent weather, tropical disease, and heartwaves. We also make choices that affect how many lives there will be in the future as individuals we choose how many children to have, and societies choose tax policies that influence people's choices about having children. These are all problems of weighing lives." "How should we weigh lives? Weighing Lives develops a theoretical basis for answering this practical question. It extends the work and methods of Broome's earlier book Weighing Goods to cover the questions of life and death." "Difficult problems come up in the process. In particular, Weighing Lives tackles the well-recognized, awkward problems of the ethics of population. It carefully examines the common intuition that adding people to the population is ethically neural - neither a good nor a bad thing - but eventually concludes that this intuition cannot be fitted into a coherent theory of value. In the cause of its argument, Weighing Lives examines many of the issues of contemporary moral theory: the nature of consequentialism and teleology; the transitivity, continuity, and vagueness of betterness; the quantitative conception of well-being; the notion of a life worth living; the badness of death; and others." "This is a work of philosophy, but one of its distinctive features is that it adopts some of the precise methods of economic theory (without introducing complex mathematics). Not only philosophers, but also economists and political theorists concerned with the practical question of valuing life, should find the book's conclusions important for their work."--BOOK JACKET." ;
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