Analyse & Kritik
Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf
One of the standard criticisms of classical utilitarian is that it is unable to provide an adequate ethical foundation for the wrongness of killing. It is reasoned that the five arguments against killing available to the classical utilitarian are indeed sufficient to provide such a foundation and that recourse to preference utilitarianism is neither called for nor helpful since it generates a number of problems of its own. On this basis, Singer’s discussion of selective abortion and the selective euthanasia of newborns is criticized from within utilitarianism for not giving sufficient weight to direct and indirect social side-effects, especially if ‘external’ criteria are introduced into the valuation of human life.