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Effective AltruismPhilosophical Issues$
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Hilary Greaves and Theron Pummer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198841364

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198841364.001.0001

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The Callousness Objection

The Callousness Objection

(p.227) 15 The Callousness Objection
Effective Altruism

Andreas Mogensen

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, Andreas Mogensen discusses the suggestion that one might be morally obligated to let the child drown in Singer’s infamous “Shallow Pond” case, so that one can save a greater number of lives through donations. Intuitively, there would be something morally horrendous about doing this. Yet a moral requirement to let the child drown seems to be the conclusion of reasoning very similar to that used by Singer and his allies to argue for demanding duties to donate on the basis of cases like “Shallow Pond”; what should we make of this? Mogensen attempts to capture both the intuition that our obligations to donate to effective life-saving organizations are as strong as our obligations to save the child in “Shallow Pond” and the intuition that one should not allow the child to drown even if by doing so one could save a greater number of lives through donations.

Keywords:   demands of beneficence, virtue, identified and statistical lives, strength of obligations, Peter Singer

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