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Is Smith morally worse than Jones, or are they equally bad?
Answering this question will help us to determine whether there is a moral difference between killing someone and letting someone die. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.
Given that many actual abortion opponents argue from the claim that the fetus has a right to life to the impermissibility of abortion, Thomson not only uncovered important moral considerations embedded in a real world debate, but also, she did so by paying heed to actual claims common in the discourse.
Her work spawned a lively ethical debate about the issue of abortion that is still in progress, and many since have taken up this approach by applying philosophical analysis to concrete ethical issues.
Applied ethicists also have the advantage of avoiding arguing from a baseline normative ethical theory, for applied ethicists cannot count on their interlocutors’ adherence to some particular theory; it is preferable to appeal to allegedly widely-shared intuitions.
Here is Thomson’s famous example of an applied ethics question that employs an argument from analogy.
Family role theory extends this to study paternalistic, maternalistic and sibling roles, and postulates that one's later relationships are formed largely in order to fill the roles one has grown to find comfortable as part of one's family environment—the family of origin thus setting pattern for the family of choice.Failures to consider consequences of teachings or examples set in these matters is disastrous, as it leads to failures of the most fundamental relationship any person has: to their own body, shame in it, pride in it, care for it, etc. No ethical tradition has failed to prescribe at least some rules for the conduct of such relationships.Carol Gilligan famously championed the role of relationships as central to moral reasoning, and superior as a basis for understanding human choices than any prior linguistic or meta-ethical concept.If it turns out that there is no moral difference between killing and letting die, then we can apply this discovery to questions of euthanasia, which require us to ask whether it is permissible to kill a terminally ill patient rather than allowing her to die by permitting the illness to take its course. As you can see, both bare-difference arguments and arguments from analogy can be quite illuminating when it comes to assessing applied ethical questions.
Visotzky exploits much of the Talmudic, midrash and magisterium, demonstrating that these Jewish theological traditions too had often focused on the ethical relationship, not only between Man and God, but between others in one's family, tribe or community.