phil152final - 1 Philosophy 152 6 December 2007 Final Exam...

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Philosophy 152 6 December 2007 Final Exam 1. The problem of specifying the antecedent as specified by Jeff McMahan is truly a problem of relativity. The root of the problem lies in the fact that the gauge of how tragic a death someone has is simply a comparative scale in which things are examined on a relative basis. This problem most directly affects anyone trying to determine the badness or tragedy of a person’s death, as the living are the only people capable of actually feeling any grief for the departed. The problem of the antecedent is therefore in its basest sense a problem of identifying a single cause or causative clause engulfing the entire cause of death in order to determine the tragedy of such a death. McMahan’s solution to the aforementioned problem is presented simply but the execution of his solution is much more complex. The first step is to determine what event specifically was the cause of death. Next, remove that event so that the causally relevant remaining factors would imply a long and happy life awaiting the survivor or a death from other causes entirely. By removing the causal sequence, the immediate death or deaths are avoided and the next causal sequence is considered. To determine the overall badness of the death, McMahan suggests we consider the rough proportion of goodness that
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phil152final - 1 Philosophy 152 6 December 2007 Final Exam...

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