Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence

Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence by Peter Unger 0195108590 9780195108590
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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 themoral 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 aboutethical 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 alreadyaccept, the fatally unhelpful behavior is monstrously wrong. By uncovering the eminently sensible ethics that weve already embraced fully, and by confronting us with empirical facts and with easily followed instructions for lessening serious suffering appropriately and effectively, Ungers bookpoints the way to a compassionate new moral philosophy.

Author: Peter Unger

Language: English

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 200

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 1996-06-20


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