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dc.contributor.advisor Sher, George
dc.creatorEbert, Rainer
dc.date.accessioned 2017-08-02T19:11:47Z
dc.date.available 2017-08-02T19:11:47Z
dc.date.created 2016-05
dc.date.issued 2016-04-11
dc.date.submitted May 2016
dc.identifier.citation Ebert, Rainer. "The Wrongness of Killing." (2016) Diss., Rice University. http://hdl.handle.net/1911/96270.
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/96270
dc.description.abstract There are few moral convictions that enjoy the same intuitive plausibility and level of acceptance both within and across nations, cultures, and traditions as the conviction that, normally, it is morally wrong to kill people. Attempts to provide a philosophical explanation of why that is so broadly fall into three groups: Consequentialists argue that killing is morally wrong, when it is wrong, because of the harm it inflicts on society in general, or the victim in particular, whereas personhood and human dignity accounts see the wrongness of killing people in its typically involving a failure to show due respect for the victim and his or her intrinsic moral worth. I argue that none of these attempts to explain the wrongness of killing is successful. Consequentialism generates too many moral reasons to kill, cannot account for deeply felt and widely shared intuitions about the comparative wrongness of killing, and gives the wrong kind of explanation of the wrongness of killing. Personhood and human dignity accounts each draw a line that is arbitrary and entirely unremarkable in terms of empirical reality, and hence ill-suited to carry the moral weight of the difference in moral status between the individuals below and above it. Paying close attention to the different ways in which existing accounts fail to convince, I identify a number of conditions that any plausible account of the wrongness of killing must meet. I then go on to propose an account that does. I suggest that the reason that typically makes killing normal human adults wrong equally applies to atypical human beings and a wide range of non-human animals, and hence challenge the idea that killing a non-human animal is normally easier to justify than killing a human being. This idea has persisted in Western philosophy from Aristotle to the present, and even progressive moral thinkers and animal advocates such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan are committed to it. I conclude by discussing some important practical implications of my account.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subjectapplied ethics
killing
human dignity
animal ethics
moral status
egalitarianism
utilitarianism
consequentialism
equality
consciousness
animal rights
ethics
moral philosophy
dc.title The Wrongness of Killing
dc.date.updated 2017-08-02T19:11:47Z
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material Text
thesis.degree.department Philosophy
thesis.degree.discipline Humanities
thesis.degree.grantor Rice University
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.major Philosophy


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