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Every person has negative responsibility for extinction events – failing to stop someone from ending the world is as bad as doing it yourself



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Every person has negative responsibility for extinction events – failing to stop someone from ending the world is as bad as doing it yourself


Bok 88 (Sissela Bok, Professor of Philosophy, Brandeis, Applied Ethics and Ethical Theory, Ed. David Rosenthal and Fudlou Shehadi, 1988)//LD

The same argument can be made for Kant's other formulations of the Categorical Imperative: "So act as to use humanity, both in your own person and in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never simply as a means"; and "So act as if you were always through actions a law-making member in a universal Kingdom of Ends." No one with a concern for humanity could consistently will to risk eliminating humanity in the person of himself and every other or to risk the death of all members in a universal Kingdom of Ends for the sake of justice. To risk their collective death for the sake of following one's conscience would be, as Rawls said, "irrational, crazy." And to say that one did riot intend such a catastrophe, but that one merely failed to stop other persons from bringing it about would be beside the point when the end of the world was at stake. For although it is true that we cannot be held responsible for most of the wrongs that others commit, the Latin maxim presents a case where we would have to take such a responsibility seriously - perhaps to the point of deceiving, bribing, even killing an innocent person, in order that the world not perish.






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