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Identified versus Statistical LivesAn Interdisciplinary Perspective$
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I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

Why Not Empathy?

Why Not Empathy?

(p.150) 10 Why Not Empathy?
Identified versus Statistical Lives

Michael Slote

Oxford University Press

Empathy may be more relevant to moral distinctions between identified and statistical victims than has been realized. A form of virtue ethics that anchors morality in empathic caring reactions can not only deal with traditional normative issues of deontology and justice, but can also offer an account of the meaning of moral terms that allows one to answer the objections Kantians and other rationalists have raised against sentimentalist metaethics. Empathy is precisely more sensitive to what has been identified than to what is statistical, so a sentimentalist approach can offer positive reasons to think the identified vs. statistical distinction carries moral weight, and, most specifically, it can also account for the some of the findings in the empirical literature concerning this issue.

Keywords:   empathy, sentimentalism, identified victims, Kant, rationalism

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