University of Kansas, Spring 2004
Philosophy 555: Justice and Economic Systems

Class notes: Unger, chapter 3: “Living High, Stealing and Letting Die: The Main Truth of Some Related Puzzles”

The following notes correspond roughly to what we cover, including at least a portion of what I put on the board or the screen, in class. In places they may be more or less comprehensive than what we actually cover in class, and should not be taken as a substitute for your own observations and records of what goes on in class.

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  1. about
    1. not what you must do with your stuff
    2. what it’s good to do with others’ stuff
  2. the main related puzzle
    1. the Yacht vs. the Account
    2. why a positive judgment towards the former, and a negative judgment towards the latter? (p. 65.8)
    3. some factors intensifying the puzzle
      1. more good done in the Account
      2. less expense in the Account
  3. five more differences that don’t make a moral difference (these are true of the Yacht; use opposites for the Account) (pp. 74.1–2)
    1. (10.) property instead of mere money (section 4) (also true of Sedan)
    2. (11.) direct use instead of conversion (4) (also true of Sedan)
    3. (12.) taking instead of stealing (2)
    4. (13.) no “additional morally suspect features” (3)
    5. (14.) merely foreseen, not intended as means (5)
  4. subjective factors
    1. negative
      1. futility thinking (pp. 75.9–76.3)
      2. repeatability thinking (p. 80.2)
      3. projective separating—see next chapter (p. 80.2)
    2. positive
      1. conspicuousness (p. 28.8, p. 76.4)
      2. dramatic trouble (p. 78.2)
      3. descriptive segregation (p. 79.5)
    3. proof of these as explanatory
      1. explanation of puzzles
      2. examples of horrors in a “perennially decent world” (pp. 80–82)