Identified versus Statistical Lives: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

ISBN : 9780190217471

I. Glenn Cohen; Norman Daniels; Nir Eyal
240 Pages
156 x 239 mm
Pub date
Apr 2015
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On August 5, 2010, a cave-in left thirty-three Chilean miners trapped underground. The Chilean government embarked on a massive rescue effort that is estimated to have cost between ten and twenty million dollars. There is a puzzle here. Many mine safety measures that would have been more cost effective had not been taken in Chile earlier, either by the mining companies, the Chilean government or by international donors. The Chilean story illustrates a persistent puzzle: the identified lives effect. Human beings show a greater inclination to assist persons and groups identified as those at high risk of great harm than to assist persons and groups who will suffer - or already suffer - similar harm but are not identified as yet. The problem touches almost every aspect of human life and politics: health, the environment, the law. What can social and cognitive sciences teach us about the origin and triggers of the effect? Philosophically and ethically, is the effect a "bias" to be eliminated or is it morally justified? What implications does the effect have for health care, law, the environment and other practice domains? This volume is the first book to tackle the effect from all necessary perspectives: psychology, public health, law, ethics, and public policy.


I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal, Statistical versus Identified Persons: An Introduction
Part I: Social Science
Chapter 1
Deborah A. Small, On the Psychology of the Identifiable Victim Effect
Chapter 2
Peter Railton, " Models of the Mind and the "
Part II: Ethics and Political Philosophy
Chapter 3
Dan W. Brock, Identified vs. Statistical Lives: Some Introductory Issues and Arguments
Chapter 4
Matthew Adler, Welfarism, Equity, and the Choice Between Statistical and Identified Victims
Chapter 5
Michael Otsuka, Risking Life and Limb: How to Discount Harms by Their Improbability
Chapter 6
Nir Eyal, Concentrated Risk, the Coventry Blitz, Chamberlain's Cancer
Chapter 7
Norman Daniels, Can There Be Moral Force to Favoring an Identified over a Statistical Life?
Chapter 8
Caspar Hare, Statistical People and Counterfactual Indeterminacy
Chapter 9
Marcel Verweij, How (Not) to Argue for the Rule of Rescue: Claims of Individuals versus Group Solidarity
Chapter 10
Michael Slote, Why Not Empathy?
Part III: Applications
Chapter 11
I. Glenn Cohen, Identified versus Statistical Lives in U.S. Civil Litigation: Of Standing, Ripeness, and Class Actions
Chapter 12
Lisa Heinzerling, Statistical Lives in Environmental Law
Chapter 13
Johann Frick, Treatment versus Prevention in the Fight against HIV/AIDS and the Problem of Identified versus Statistical Lives
Chapter 14
Till Barnighausen and Max Essex, From Biology to Policy: Ethical and Economic Issues in HIV Treatment-as-Prevention
Chapter 15
Jonathan Wolff, Testing, Treating, and Trusting

About the author: 

I. Glenn Cohen is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics.; Norman Daniels Daniels is the Mary B. Saltonstall Professor and Professor of Ethics and Population Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.; Nir Eyal Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine (Medical Ethics) at the Harvard Medical School. He is the co-editor of INEQUALITIES IN HEALTH (OUP, 2013) and the co-editor of the Population-Level Bioethics series.

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