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Making Mortal Choices : Three Exercises in Moral Casuistry - Hugo Adam Bedau

Making Mortal Choices

Three Exercises in Moral Casuistry

Paperback Published: 1st February 1997
ISBN: 9780195108781
Number Of Pages: 136

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The answer, to crew and passengers aboard the sinking lifeboat, must have seemed both grimly obvious and unthinkably alien. To save the lives of many, the lives of some would have to be sacrificed. With seawater crashing over the gunwhales, only a lightening of the human cargo would keep the craft afloat. In a procedure that took much of the night, fourteen men and two women were consigned to watery graves.
This notorious event, aftermath to the sinking of the William Brown in 1841, represents a shocking example of life and death decision-making, a case where cruel circumstance would seem to argue the permissibility of taking innocent human life. In Making Mortal Choices, philosopher Hugo Bedau examines this case as well as two similar cases of hypothetical origin, generating a remarkably clear and accessible demonstration of philosophical reasoning in cases where it must be decided who ought to survive when not all can.
Bedau's approach, a form of practical ethics descended from the ancient (and oft-misunderstood) method of casuistry, involves solving complex moral problems in careful analytic increments and only after a broad canvassing of possibilities, rather than through the top-down application of some general moral theory or principle.
Aimed at both general readers and philosophers interested in the revival of casuistic method, Making Mortal Choices illuminates not only how we reason in life and death situations, but also how we ought to reason if we wish both to be consistent and to properly respect human life.

Industry Reviews

"At once sophisticated, fascinating, and highly readable and accessible by a non-philosophy audience."--Norman Daniels, Tufts University "The essays do an excellent job of motivating philosophical thought and exhibiting the worth of philosophical reflection. In addition they deepen the reader's understanding of both life and death choices and various important moral principles."--Stephen Nathanson, Northeastern University "At once sophisticated, fascinating, and highly readable and accessible by a non-philosophy audience."--Norman Daniels, Tufts University "The essays do an excellent job of motivating philosophical thought and exhibiting the worth of philosophical reflection. In addition they deepen the reader's understanding of both life and death choices and various important moral principles."--Stephen Nathanson, Northeastern University "...this fascinating invitation to moral philosophy is a salutary reminder of just how subtle and sensitive "commonsense" moral thought can be."--Ethics

Seaman Holmes and the Sinking of the William Brownp. 5
The Speluncean Explorers and the Death of Roger Whetmorep. 41
Jim and the Indians in the Jungle Clearingp. 71
The Historical Background of Casuistryp. 101
Notesp. 107
Indexp. 119
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195108781
ISBN-10: 0195108787
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 1st February 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 14.61  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.18

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