Survival lotteries play a considerable role in philosophers’ thinking on the ethics of killing. They have also entered popular culture. The lotteries are not widely accepted, yet they seem to be reasonable, if only we can set some of our taboos to one side. In this chapter, deontology, the moral rights theory, and utilitarianism are confronted with famous ‘survival lotteries’. Here this chapter examines cases such as John Harris’s organ lottery, John Taurek’s rescue lottery, and Gilbert Harman’s ‘organ’ thought experiments. In the final analysis, it is argued that utilitarianism can best explain our considered intuitions in relation to these lotteries. It is possible to debunk intuitions commonly held to the opposite effect, once they are submitted to cognitive psychotherapy.
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