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Taking LifeThree Theories on the Ethics of Killing$
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Torbjorn Tannsjo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.001.0001

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Three Bold Conjectures

Three Bold Conjectures

(p.18) Chapter 2 Three Bold Conjectures
Taking Life

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Oxford University Press

Three ethical theories, to be tested in relation to killing, are characterized: deontology, a libertarian moral rights theory, and utilitarianism. The idea is to find the best versions of each one in relation to the problem discussed: when should we, or should we not, kill, and why? These three theories are chosen specifically for their intuitive plausibility, their ability to offer a definitive answer to all of the problems raised in the various chapters, and their promising explanations of various conflicting intuitions people claim to have in the area. Interestingly, the three theories offer, in many cases, different (inconsistent) answers to the questions posed.

Keywords:   deontology, Immanuel Kant, categorical imperative, Sanctity-of-Life Doctrine, principle of double effect, moral rights theory, self-ownership, utilitarianism

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