War and massacre cases
How would Nagel/Mill address them? Which better, and why?
Utilitarian: accepts certain rules of thumb
- Do not torture innocent people
- prevent catastrophic destruction & Death whenever possible
- then, you think about producing the greatest happiness — the greatest happiness is produced by torturing
- are they any other options? suppose NO.
- will the torture be effective, and how can we know?
- torture produces unreliable info
- let’s suppose that we somehow know that it will be effective and it will not be known that we did it
- IF we make all these suppositions, then the utilitarian would say to torture
if it becomes known that we are torturing, it becomes more likely that we will be tortured.
Nagel: advocates absolutism
|-absolute pacifism ————Nagel—————-utilitarianism-|
AP: always unacceptable to intentionally harm another
UT: any kind of action can be, in the right circumstances, morally permitted, if not required
NG: certain types of actions are wrong no matter what the consequences
two absolutist restrictions for warfare
- restriction upon the legitimate targets of harm
- restrictions on the means of harm to legitimate targets