In response to Taurek’s ridicule of the idea of “collective or total pain” or happiness, I ask, what is utilitarianism but the pursuit of the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people (Taurek 309)? Were we to listen and adhere to Taurek’s words, John Stuart Mill’s principle of utility would be greatly undermined. In the immediate time and place of David’s drug case, Taurek’s assertion that David is not obligated to give up his life so that each of the five others, all strangers to him, might continue to live” is valid (299). However, it is valid only at that point in time, because afterwards, one will have to take into consideration the ramifications of the deaths of the other five. All other things being equal, the death of five people will create a greater sensation, a greater stir, than the death of one like person. It is slightly unreasonable to tell David he... [continues]
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