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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 18, 1993

Thomas Young
Pages 327-339

Analogical Reasoning and Easy Rescue Cases

The purpose of this article is to determine whether analogical reasoning can supply a basis for believing that we have a moral obligation to rescue strangers. The paper will focus on donating cadaver organs. I construct a moral analogical argument involving an easy rescue case and organ donation. Various alleged relevant differences between the cases are examined and rejected. Finally, what I cal l “the ownership dilemma” is introduced and I conclude that this dilemma is inescapable. Thus, analogical reasoning, however convincing it might appear, is virtually worthless as a strategy of rationality persuading people that they have a duty to donate blood, cadaver organs, or, more generally, a duty to give up any property to aid strangers.

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