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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

(p.284) 12 Weighing Unjust Lives
Weighing Lives in War

Andrew Forcehimes

Oxford University Press

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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