Abstract - Abstract The focus of this paper concerns the...

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Abstract: The focus of this paper concerns the debate between absolutists and consequentialists. More specifically, it addresses the arguments put forth by Jonathan Bennett in “Whatever the Consequences” and Jeffrie Murphy in “Is killing the Innocent Absolutely Immoral?” Granting both arguments true, I employ Bennett’s Obstetrical Example ( OE ) as the formula to test Murphy’s defense for the absolutist’s position. I apply Murphy’s appeal to the Kantian distinction between perfect and imperfect duties to the OE in order to: a) better understand both views, b) examine how perfect and imperfect duties influence the outcome of the OE , and c) assess the strength of Murphy’s position. This paper humbly reaches the conclusion that it does follow that one can accept the position that it is absolutely wrong to sacrifice the innocent for the sake of greater general happiness solely from the distinction between perfect and imperfect duties when applied to the OE .
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Philosophers have started to question the moral significance of the killing/letting die distinction. Generally killing someone involves doing something to the person causing his/her death. Death caused by drowning, poisoning are clear examples of killing. Letting die usually involves refraining from doing something that could save a person in mortal danger: not operating, not calling the police. However, there can be cases of killing in which the murderer does nothing (i.e. killing by starving to death), and there can be cases of letting die which involve doing something (i.e. hiding the lifeline that could save the drowning person). Determining the moral relevance of the distinction is difficult. This paper is concerned with the question: “should the fact that a certain type
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This note was uploaded on 05/27/2008 for the course PHIL 313 taught by Professor Greene during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

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Abstract - Abstract The focus of this paper concerns the...

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