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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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Identified versus Statistical Lives

Identified versus Statistical Lives

Some Introductory Issues and Arguments

(p.43) 3 Identified versus Statistical Lives
Identified versus Statistical Lives

Dan W. Brock

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces and briefly evaluates several arguments commonly thought to support the moral importance of the distinction between statistical and identified lives in the context of saving lives in health care, many of which frequently appear in the literature. It argues that none of them succeeds in doing that. It concludes that when, but only when, a morally important principle like priority to the worse off maps onto the identified/statistical difference, then the identified/statistical difference is morally important—but that is because of the other principle—in this case, priority to the worse off—not the difference between identified and statistical lives

Keywords:   identified lives, statistical lives, health care, saving lives

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