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All lives infinitely valuable—only ethical option is maximizing number saved



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All lives infinitely valuable—only ethical option is maximizing number saved


Cummisky, 96 (David, professor of philosophy at Bates, Kantian Consequentialism, p. 131)
Finally, even if one grants that saving two persons with dignity cannot outweigh and compensate for killing one—because dignity cannot be added and summed this way—this point still does not justify deontological constraints. On the extreme interpretation, why would not killing one person be a stronger obligation than saving two persons? If I am concerned with the priceless dignity of each, it would seem that I may still save two; it is just that my reason cannot be that the two compensate for the loss of one. Consider Hill’s example of a priceless object: If I can save two of three priceless statutes only by destroying one, then I cannot claim that saving two is not outweighed by the one that was not destroyed. Indeed, even if dignity cannot be simply summed up, how is the extreme interpretation inconsistent with the idea that I should save as many priceless objects as possible? Even if two do not simply outweigh and thus compensate for the loss of one, each is priceless; thus, I have good reason to save as many as I can. In short, it is not clear how the extreme interpretation justifies the ordinary killing/letting-die distinction or even how it conflicts with the conclusion that the more persons with dignity who are saved, the better.


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