Living High and Letting Die : Our Illusion of Innocence: Our Illusion of Innocence

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Oxford University Press, USA, May 7, 1996 - Philosophy - 200 pages
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By contributing a few hundred dollars to a charity like UNICEF, a prosperous person can ensure that fewer poor children die, and that more will live reasonably long, worthwhile lives. Even when knowing this, however, most people send nothing, and almost all of the rest send little. What is the moral status of this behavior? To such common cases of letting die, our untutored response is that, while it is not very good, neither is the conduct wrong. What is the source of this lenient assessment? In this contentious new book, one of our leading philosophers argues that our intuitions about ethical cases are generated not by basic moral values, but by certain distracting psychological dispositions that all too often prevent us from reacting in accord with our commitments. Through a detailed look at how these tendencies operate, Unger shows that, on the good morality that we already accept, the fatally unhelpful behavior is monstrously wrong. By uncovering the eminently sensible ethics that we've already embraced fully, and by confronting us with empirical facts and with easily followed instructions for lessening serious suffering appropriately and effectively, Unger's book points the way to a compassionate new moral philosophy.
 

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Contents

On the Importance
21
Distinguishing the Primary
27
and Experiential Impact
33
The Thought of the Disastrous Further Future
36
Unique Potential Saviors and Multiple Potential Saviors
39
The Thought of the Governments
40
The Multitude and the Single Individual
41
Emergencies and Chronic Horrors
42
Stealing and Just Taking
66
The Accounts Additional Morally Suspect Features
67
Proper Property Mere Money and Conversion
70
Appropriation and the Doctrine of Double Effect
72
Combination of Factors and Limited Conspicuousness
73
Overcoming Our Fallacious Futility Thinking
75
Dramatic Trouble and Other Potent Positive Subjective Factors
77
The Absence and the Presence of Futility Thinking
80

Urgency
45
Causally Focused Aid and Causally Amorphous Aid
48
Satisfying Nice Semantic Conditions
49
Epistemic Focus
51
Money Goods and Services
52
Combinations of These Differentiating Factors
53
Highly Subjective Morality and Our Actual Moral Values
55
The View That Ethics Is Highly Demanding
56
Different Sorts of Situation and the Accumulation of Behavior
59
THE MAIN TRUTH OF SOME RELATED PUZZLES
62
A Puzzle about Taking Whats Rightfully Anothers
63
The Liberationist Solution of This Puzzle and What It Means for Related Puzzles
82
The Deletion and Addition of Options Spells
91
Protophysics and Pseudoethics
101
Using the Method of Combining to Overcome Projective
108
BETWEEN SOME HARDER ROCKS AND ROCKIER HARD
119
Strangeminds
126
Two Principles of Ethical Integrity
139
How This Semantics Can Reconcile My Disparate Judgments
167
How a Broad Perspective Supports the Chapters General
173
Index of Cases
181
Copyright

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