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Ideas of Jonathan Glover, by Text

[British, b.1941, At Oxford University, then London University. Chairman of various government committees.]

1977 Causing Death and Saving Lives
3.3 p.43 'Death' is best seen as irreversible loss of consciousness, since this is why we care about brain function
3.7 p.53 If someone's life is 'worth living', that gives one direct reason not to kill him
3.9 p.55 The quality of a life is not altogether independent of its length
4.4 p.71 Utilitarians object to killing directly (pain, and lost happiness), and to side-effects (loss to others, and precedents)
4.4 p.72 If killing is wrong because it destroys future happiness, not conceiving a happy child is also wrong
5.1 p.75 We may restrict a person's freedom for the sake of others, but not for the person's own good
5.3 p.78 Autonomy favours present opinions over future ones, and says nothing about the interests of potential people
5.3 p.79 If a whole community did not mind death, respect for autonomy suggests that you could kill them all
5.6 p.84 A problem arises in any moral system that allows more than one absolute right
6 p.86 Double Effect: no bad acts with good consequences, but possibly good acts despite bad consequences
7 p.92 Acts and Omissions: bad consequences are morally better if they result from an omission rather than an act
7.4 p.98 It doesn't seem worse to switch off a life-support machine than to forget to switch it on
7.8 p.104 Harmful omissions are unavoidable, while most harmful acts can be avoided
8.1 p.113 What matters is not intrinsic value of life or rights, but worthwhile and desired life, and avoidance of pain
9 p.119 Defenders of abortion focus on early pregnancy, while opponents focus on later stages
9 p.120 If abortion is wrong, it is because a foetus is a human being or a person (or potentially so)
9.2 p.122 If abortion is wrong because of the 'potential' person, that makes contraception wrong too
9.3 p.123 Conception isn't the fixed boundary for a person's beginning, because twins are possible within two weeks
9.3 p.125 If viability is a test or boundary at the beginning of life, it should also be so for frail old people
9.3 p.125 How would we judge abortion if mothers had transparent wombs?
9.4 p.127 You can't have a right to something you can't desire, so a foetus has no 'right' to life
9.4 p.127 Persons are conscious, they relate, they think, they feel, and they are self-aware
11.1 p.138 Being alive is not intrinsically good, and there is no 'right to life'
11.1 p.139 What is wrong with killing someone, if another equally worthwhile life is substituted?
11.1 p.140 Apart from side effects, it seems best to replace an inadequate foetus with one which has a better chance
11.4 p.144 It is always right for a qualified person to perform an abortion when requested by the mother
11.4 p.144 Abortion differs morally from deliberate non-conception only in its side-effects
11.7 p.149 The sanctity of life doctrine implies a serious increase of abnormality among the population
12.2 p.155 The 'no trade-off' position: killing is only justified if it prevents other deaths
13.2 p.174 One test for a worthwhile life is to assess the amount of life for which you would rather be unconscious
13.5 p.181 Autonomy seems to acquire greater weight when the decision is more important to a person
14.2 p.186 The Nazi mass murders seem to have originated in their euthanasia programme
15.1 p.191 Euthanasia is voluntary (patient's wish), or involuntary (ignore wish), or non-voluntary (no wish possible)
15.1 p.191 Involuntary euthanasia is wrong because it violates autonomy, and it has appalling side-effects
15.6 p.197 Maybe extreme treatment is not saving life, but prolonging the act of dying
16.3 p.210 Societies spend a lot to save known persons, but very little to reduce fatal accidents
1990 Introductions to Utilitarianism and its Critics
Pt Five p.152 You can't separate acts from the people performing them
Pt Five p.152 Duty prohibits some acts, whatever their consequences
Pt Five p.154 Aggression in defence may be beneficial but morally corrupting
Pt Four p.121 How can utilitarianism decide the ideal population size?
Pt Six p.196 Rule-utilitarianism is either act-utilitarianism, or not really utilitarian
Pt Two p.38 Satisfaction of desires is not at all the same as achieving happiness