Taking Life: Three Theories on the Ethics of Killing

ISBN : 9780190225582

Torbjorn Tannsjo
328 Pages
150 x 210 mm
Pub date
Sep 2015
Send mail

When and why is it right to kill? When and why is it wrong? Torbjorn Tannsjo examines three theories on the ethics of killing in this book: deontology, a libertarian moral rights theory, and utilitarianism. The implications of each theory are worked out for different kinds of killing: trolley-cases, murder, capital punishment, suicide, assisted death, abortion, killing in war, and the killing of animals. These implications are confronted with our intuitions in relation to them, and our moral intuitions are examined in turn. Only those intuitions that survive an understanding of how we have come to hold them are seen as 'considered' intuitions. The idea is that the theory that can best explain the content of our considered intuitions gains inductive support from them. We must transcend our narrow cultural horizons and avoid certain cognitive mistakes in order to hold considered intuitions. In this volume, suitable for courses in ethics and applied ethics, Tannsjo argues that in the final analysis utilitarianism can best account for, and explain, our considered intuitions about all these kinds of killing.


Chapter 1. Method
Chapter 2. Three Bold Conjectures
Chapter 3. The Trolley Cases
Chapter 4. Murder
Chapter 5. Capital Punishment
Chapter 6. Suicide
Chapter 7. Assisted death
Chapter 8. Abortion
Chapter 9. Survival Lotteries
Chapter 10. Killing In War
Chapter 11. The Killing of Animals
Chapter 12. What Are We to Believe?

About the author: 

Torbjorn Tannsjo is Kristian Claeson Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University. He has published extensively in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and medical ethics.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.