×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence / Edition 1
     

Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence / Edition 1

5.0 1
by Peter Unger
 

See All Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0195108590

ISBN-13: 9780195108590

Pub. Date: 06/20/1996

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

By contributing a few hundred dollars to a charity like UNICEF, a prosperous person can ensure that fewer poor children die, and that more will live reasonably long, worthwhile lives. Even when knowing this, however, most people send nothing, and almost all of the rest send little. What is the moral status of this behavior? To such common cases of letting die, our

Overview

By contributing a few hundred dollars to a charity like UNICEF, a prosperous person can ensure that fewer poor children die, and that more will live reasonably long, worthwhile lives. Even when knowing this, however, most people send nothing, and almost all of the rest send little. What is the moral status of this behavior? To such common cases of letting die, our untutored response is that, while it is not very good, neither is the conduct wrong. What is the source of this lenient assessment? In this contentious new book, one of our leading philosophers argues that our intuitions about ethical cases are generated not by basic moral values, but by certain distracting psychological dispositions that all too often prevent us from reacting in accord with our commitments. Through a detailed look at how these tendencies operate, Unger shows that, on the good morality that we already accept, the fatally unhelpful behavior is monstrously wrong. By uncovering the eminently sensible ethics that we've already embraced fully, and by confronting us with empirical facts and with easily followed instructions for lessening serious suffering appropriately and effectively, Unger's book points the way to a compassionate new moral philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195108590
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
06/20/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Sales rank:
1,292,687
Product dimensions:
9.19(w) x 6.13(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents

1.Illusions of Innocence: an Introduction3
1.Some Widely Available Thoughts about Many Easily Preventable Childhood Deaths4
2.Singer's Legacy: An Inconclusive Argument for an Importantly Correct Conclusion8
3.Two Approaches to Our Intuitions on Particular Cases: Preservationism and Liberationism10
4.An Extensive Exploration of the Liberationist Approach: Overview of the Book's Chapters13
5.The Liberationist Approach to an Unusual Family of Moral Puzzles14
6.Morality, Rationality and Truth: On the Importance of Our Basic Moral Values21
7.An Introductory Summary: Morality, Methodology and Main Motivation23
2.Living High and Letting Die: A Puzzle About Behavior Toward People in Great Need24
1.A Puzzle about Behavior toward People in Great Need24
2.An Overview of the Chapter: Distinguishing the Primary from the Secondary Basic Moral Values27
3.Physical Proximity, Social Proximity, Informative Directness and Experiential Impact33
4.The Thought of the Disastrous Further Future36
5.Unique Potential Saviors and Multiple Potential Saviors39
6.The Thought of the Governments40
7.The Multitude and the Single Individual41
8.The Continuing Mess and the Cleaned Scene41
9.Emergencies and Chronic Horrors42
10.Urgency45
11.Causally Focused Aid and Causally Amorphous Aid48
12.Satisfying Nice Semantic Conditions49
13.Epistemic Focus51
14.Money, Goods and Services52
15.Combinations of These Differentiating Factors53
16.Highly Subjective Morality and Our Actual Moral Values55
17.Resistance to the Puzzle's Liberationist Solution: The View That Ethics Is Highly Demanding56
18.Further Resistance: Different Sorts of Situation and the Accumulation of Behavior59
3.Living High, Stealing and Letting Die: The Main Truth of Some Related Puzzles62
1.A Puzzle about Taking What's Rightfully Another's63
2.Stealing and Just Taking66
3.The Account's Additional Morally Suspect Features67
4.Proper Property, Mere Money and Conversion70
5.Appropriation and the Doctrine of Double Effect72
6.Combination of Factors and Limited Conspicuousness73
7.The Influence of Conspicuousness Explained: Overcoming Our Fallacious Futility Thinking75
8.Beyond Conspicuousness: Dramatic Trouble and Other Potent Positive Subjective Factors77
9.In a Perennially Decent World: The Absence and the Presence of Futility Thinking80
10.The Liberationist Solution of This Puzzle and What It Means for Related Puzzles82
4.Between Some Rocks and Some Hard Places: on Causing and Preventing Serious Loss84
1.A Puzzle about Causing and Preventing Serious Loss86
2.The Method of Several Options88
3.The Deletion and Addition of Options Spells the Fall of Preservationism91
4.The Liberation Hypothesis and the Fanaticism Hypothesis94
5.Projective Separating and Projective Grouping96
6.Protophysics and Pseudoethics101
7.A Few Further Funny Factors103
8.Using the Method of Combining to Overcome Protophysical Thinking106
9.Using the Method of Combining to Overcome Projective Separating108
10.Putting This Puzzle's Pieces in Place: A Short but Proper Path to a Liberationist Solution110
11.A Longer Proper Path to that Sensible Solution111
AppendixTwo Forms of the Fanaticism Hypothesis115
5.Between Some Harder Rocks and Rockier Hard Places: on Distortional Separating and Revelatory Grouping119
1.A Strange Psychological Phenomenon: No Threshold119
2.Another Strange Psychological Phenomenon: Near Tie-breaker121
3.A Causally Amorphous Egoistic Puzzle: Introducing Dr. Strangemind123
4.A Causally Amorphous Altruistic Puzzle: Strangemind's Terribly Ghastly Ingenuity126
5.A Sensible Liberationist Solution of the Altruistic Puzzle129
6.A Similar Solution for the Egoistic Puzzle130
6.Living High and Letting Die Reconsidered: on the Costs of a Morally Decent Life133
1.A Pretty Demanding Dictate134
2.An Argument for This Dictate from the Consideration of Three Cases135
3.Two Principles of Ethical Integrity139
4.A More Principled Argument Also Yields More Highly Demanding Dictates141
5.A Decent Principle of Aiding: Being Appropriately Modest about Lessening Early Death143
6.Currently Common Lifesaving Costs, Important Efficiencies and Irrelevant Probabilities146
7.Special Obligations and Care for Dependents149
8.More Than Merely Material Costs150
9.Extremely Demanding Situations152
10.Morality, Publicity and Motivating Morally Better Behavior156
7.Metaethics, Better Ethics: from Complex Semantics to Simple Decency158
1.Diverse Judgments of the Envelope's Conduct: Two Main Considerations159
2.Preparation for an Introduction to a Selectively Flexible Semantics160
3.Rudiments of a Context-Sensitive Semantics for Morally Useful Terms162
4.How This Semantics Can Reconcile My Disparate Judgments of the Envelope's Behavior167
5.Reconciling My Other Disparate Judgments: Stressing a Conservative Secondary Value170
6.This Conservative Value and Barriers to Moral Progress172
7.How a Broad Perspective Supports the Chapter's General Approach173
8.From Complex Inquiry to Some Simple Decency174
Bibliography177
Index of Cases181
Index of Persons183
Index of Subjects185

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This outstanding work provides astute insight into quotidian moral dilemnas.