Why the Numbers Should Sometimes Count
Sanders (John T.)
Source: Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 17, No. 1, Winter, 1988, pp. 3-14
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. John M. Taurek has argued that, where choices must be made between alternatives that affect different numbers of people, the numbers are not, by themselves, morally relevant.
  2. This is because we "must" take "losses-to" the persons into account (and these don't sum), but "must not" consider "losses-of" persons (because we must not treat persons like objects).
  3. I argue that the numbers are always ethically relevant, and that they may sometimes be the decisive consideration.

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