Scientific article
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The notion of moral cost. Sacrifice and self-sacrifice as a structural dimension of moral life

ContributorsOssipow, William
Published inEthique des affaires, vol. 4/5, p. 68-77
Publication date1996

How to live in a better world? How to get out of Hell (war, poverty, nature destruction)? To produce a better world implies, as any production, a production cost and therefore to produce a better world implies a specific cost that can be called a moral cost. Indeed the very structure of moral discourse has much to do with the economic semantics. However whereas a fair economy tries to supply benefit for all (in a win-win game), there are some situations where such a mutually advantageous structure is not possible. It is such situations that the paper aims to grasp in particular with the help of the lifeboat thought -experiment. In these situations we are facing the necessity of sacrifice, either sacrifice of others, or self-sacrifice. The paper will also show that the notion of self-sacrifice is able to reconcile the teleological ethical approach with the deontological one.

  • Moral discourse
  • Moral semantics
  • Rational moral theories
  • Lifeboat thought-experiment
  • Sacrifice
  • Self-sacrifice
Citation (ISO format)
OSSIPOW, William. The notion of moral cost. Sacrifice and self-sacrifice as a structural dimension of moral life. In: Ethique des affaires, 1996, vol. 4/5, p. 68–77.
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Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:109169

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