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Mark Briard
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I very much enjoyed reading this. I agreed with all your claims about what was morally acceptable in each of the scenarios -- and without hesitation for any of them. And your reasoning looks right to me -- except for one little thing: Innocent Falling Man (the first). You didn't actually say where you stood on this point (or if you did, I missed it), but your later argument seems to rely on it being morally unacceptable to disintegrate the innocent falling man. I (in agreement with Nozick) say that it is morally acceptable for Sam to disintegrate the innocent falling man. (But I agree with you regarding the second innocent falling man -- shooting him does not save Sam, and so is not morally acceptable.) A right of retaliation does not explain that intuition. And since it doesn't, it's not clear to me that I need a right of retaliation in order to explain my (other) intuitions. Does your argument work against Nozick (and me)? Can it be modified to do so if it doesn't? (I'd like to be able to explain why it's morally legitimate for me to bow to (and, more importantly, force other people to bow to) a national system of criminal law and judicial punishment. I'm just not sure I'm there yet!)
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2012 on A Few Short Steps to the Gallows at
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Jul 25, 2012