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Equal Treatment and Equal Chances - Kamm

Equal Treatment and Equal Chances - Kamm - Princeton...

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Princeton University Press Equal Treatment and Equal Chances Author(s): Frances Myrna Kamm Source: Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Spring, 1985), pp. 177-194 Published by: Blackwell Publishing Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2265456 . Accessed: 18/08/2011 01:27 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Princeton University Press and Blackwell Publishing are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Philosophy & Public Affairs. http://www.jstor.org
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FRANCES MYRNA KAMM Equal Treatment and Equal Chances In his article, "Should the Numbers Count?"'John Taurek deals with conflict situations in which we can help some, but not all, of the people who need help, and we must choose whom we will help. An example of such a case involves six people who need a drug to save their lives. I have the drug, but I cannot give it to all six because, say, they are located in two different places. Among my options are to give it either to a group of five people on one island or to one personon another island (henceforth, Case D for drug). The following are among the claims Taurek makes: (i)(a) If the five die, no one will suffer more of a loss than a single person would suffer if he died. We care about the loss a person suffers, the loss to him, not the loss of him or a summation of individual losses that no single individual ever suffers. Therefore, numbers do not count in deciding whom to save. There is no reason to save the greater num- ber, just because they are the greater number. (i)(b) There is no coherent impersonal sense of better and worse in which it would be a worse situation if the five people die than if the one dies. The fact that a certain situation is worse for more people does not mean it is, in any coherent sense, impersonally worse. (2) If we want to show equal concern for all six people-though perhaps Preparation of this article was made possible in part by grants fromthe American Council of Learned Societies, the New York University Humanities Council, and a New York University Mellon Fund. This article is one in an interrelated series I have written on the morality of aiding and harming, including "Abortion: A Philosophical Analysis" in Ethics for Modern Life, eds. Abelson and Friquenon (New York: St. Martin's, i982) and "Killing and LettingDie: Methodology and Substance," The Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (Winter I 983).
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