The New Problem of Numbers in Morality
Woollard (Fiona)
Source: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 17, No. 4, Special Issue: BSET-conference 2013 (August 2014), pp. 631-641
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Discussion of the "problem of numbers" in morality has focused almost exclusively on the moral significance of numbers in whom-to-rescue cases: when you can save either of two groups of people, but not both, does the number of people in each group matter morally?
  2. I suggest that insufficient attention has been paid to the moral significance of numbers in other types of case. According to common-sense morality, numbers make a difference in cases, like the famous Trolley Case, where we must choose whether to kill a person (or persons) as a side effect of saving a greater number.
  3. I argue that recognition of the role of numbers in killing cases forces us to reassess purported solutions to the problem of numbers.

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