Giving Each Person Her Due: Taurek Cases and Non-Comparative Justice

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):661-676 (2012)
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Taurek cases focus a choice between two views of permissible action, Can Save One and Must Save Many . It is argued that Taurek cases do illustrate the rationale for Can Save One , but existing views do not highlight the fact that this is because they are examples of claims grounded on non-comparative justice. To act to save the many solely because they form a group is to discriminate against the one for an irrelevant reason. That is a canonical form of non-comparative injustice. The error lies in taking a contingency of some presentations of some Taurek cases, namely, that they involve distribution, to introduce the claims of comparative as opposed to non-comparative justice. But cases of non-comparative justice can, contingently, also involve distribution. In order to settle which form of justice applies it is necessary to examine the nature of the distribution involved and the nature of “classes” to which individuals can be assigned
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