Differentiating Moral Duties: A Response to ‘Valuing Foreign Lives’

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Abstract

Should democratic governments place a value on life? If so, should the valuation of foreign lives be the same as the valuation of domestic lives? This Article examines the profound moral issues present when assigning quantitative value to human life in response to Rowell and Wexler. Starting with the assumption that all lives, domestic or foreign, have equal, intrinsic moral value, this Article argues that a justification for disparate life valuations between foreign and domestic lives are a result of the long-recognized difference between act and omission, between imposing a harm on another and failing to render aid. Using the current philosophical debate surrounding the scope of global distributive justice principles as a backdrop, this Article highlights the morally salient distinctions among the various duties we have towards individuals.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
JournalUniversity of Illinois Law Review Slip Opinions
StatePublished - 2015

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title = "Differentiating Moral Duties: A Response to ‘Valuing Foreign Lives’",
abstract = "Should democratic governments place a value on life? If so, should the valuation of foreign lives be the same as the valuation of domestic lives? This Article examines the profound moral issues present when assigning quantitative value to human life in response to Rowell and Wexler. Starting with the assumption that all lives, domestic or foreign, have equal, intrinsic moral value, this Article argues that a justification for disparate life valuations between foreign and domestic lives are a result of the long-recognized difference between act and omission, between imposing a harm on another and failing to render aid. Using the current philosophical debate surrounding the scope of global distributive justice principles as a backdrop, this Article highlights the morally salient distinctions among the various duties we have towards individuals.",
author = "Colleen Murphy",
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AB - Should democratic governments place a value on life? If so, should the valuation of foreign lives be the same as the valuation of domestic lives? This Article examines the profound moral issues present when assigning quantitative value to human life in response to Rowell and Wexler. Starting with the assumption that all lives, domestic or foreign, have equal, intrinsic moral value, this Article argues that a justification for disparate life valuations between foreign and domestic lives are a result of the long-recognized difference between act and omission, between imposing a harm on another and failing to render aid. Using the current philosophical debate surrounding the scope of global distributive justice principles as a backdrop, this Article highlights the morally salient distinctions among the various duties we have towards individuals.

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