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Weighing Lives in War$
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Jens David Ohlin, Larry May, and Claire Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198796176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198796176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

Weighing Unjust Lives

Weighing Unjust Lives

Chapter:
(p.284) 12 Weighing Unjust Lives
Source:
Weighing Lives in War
Author(s):

Andrew Forcehimes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198796176.003.0013

Are the lives of those fighting on the unjust side of a war worth less than the lives of those fighting on the just side? It is tempting to answer yes. There is a powerful and popular rationale for this verdict: Things are intrinsically better when people get what they deserve. According to this view, the goodness of a life is the product of one’s desert-adjusted welfare. In this chapter, I highlight the troubling implications that adjusting for desert has in the context of war. The implausibility of these implications calls into question the core idea of the desert-adjusted account: namely, that there is some level of welfare that each person deserves, and things would go best if everyone were at these levels.

Keywords:   desert, death, well-being, proportionality, consequentialism, Shelly Kagan

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