Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 279–290 | Cite as

A Defence of Weighted Lotteries in Life Saving Cases

Article

Abstract

The three most common responses to Taurek’s ‘numbers problem’ are saving the greater number, equal chance lotteries and weighted lotteries. Weighted lotteries have perhaps received the least support, having been criticized by Scanlon What We Owe to Each Other (1998) and Hirose ‘Fairness in Life and Death Cases’ (2007). This article considers these objections in turn, and argues that they do not succeed in refuting the fairness of a weighted lottery, which remains a potential solution to cases of conflict. Moreover, it shows how these responses actually lead to a new argument for weighted lotteries, appealing to fairness and Pareto-optimality.

Keywords

Aggregation Fairness Lotteries Scanlon Taurek Weighted lotteries 

References

  1. Beitz C (1989) Political Equality. Princeton, Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Broome J (1984) Selecting people randomly. Ethics 95:38–55 doi:10.1086/292596 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Broome J (1990) Fairness. Proc Aristot Soc 91:87–101 http://www.jstor.org/stable/4545128
  4. Broome J (1998) Kamm on fairness. Philos Phenomenol Res 58:955–961 doi:10.2307/2653739 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crowder G (2002) Liberalism and value pluralism. Continuum, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Hirose I (2004) Aggregation and numbers. Utilitas 16:62–79 doi:10.1017/S0953820803001067 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirose I (2007) Weighted lotteries in life and death cases. Ratio 20:45–56 doi:10.1111/j.1467-9329.2007.00345.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hooker B (2005) Fairness. Ethical Theory Moral Pract 8:329–352 doi:10.1007/s10677-005-8836-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kamm F (1985) Equal treatment and equal chances. Philos Public Aff 14:177–194 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2265456 Google Scholar
  10. Kavka G (1979) The numbers should count. Philos Stud 36:285–294 doi:10.1007/BF00372632 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lawlor R (2006) Taurek, numbers and probabilities. Ethical Theory Moral Pract 9:149–166 doi:10.1007/s10677-005-9004-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Otsuka M (2006) Saving lives, moral theory, and the claims of individuals. Philos Public Aff 34:109–135 doi:10.1111/j.1088-4963.2006.00058.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Parfit D (1978) Innumerate ethics. Philos Public Aff 7:285–301 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2264959 Google Scholar
  14. Parfit D (1997) Equality and priority. Ratio 10:202–211 doi:10.1111/1467-9329.00041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rawls J (1999) A theory of justice, revised edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  16. Sanders J (1988) Why the numbers should sometimes count. Philos Public Aff 17:3–14 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2265283 Google Scholar
  17. Saunders B (2008) The equality of lotteries. Philos 83:359–372 doi:10.1017/S0031819108000727 Google Scholar
  18. Scanlon T (1975) Preference and urgency. J Philos 72:655–669 doi:10.2307/2024630 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Scanlon T (1998) What we owe to each other. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  20. Stone P (2007) Why lotteries are just. J Polit Philos 15:276–295 doi:10.1111/j.1467-9760.2006.00274.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Taurek J (1977) Should the numbers count? Philos Public Aff 6:293–316 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2264945 Google Scholar
  22. Timmermann J (2004) The individualist lottery: how people count, but not their numbers. Analysis 64:106–112 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8284.2004.00468.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy and Corpus Christi CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations