Trivial sacrifices, great demands

Wai Lam William SIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Suppose that people in the affluent countries can easily save the lives of the starving needy in poor countries. Then, three points seem to follow. First, it is wrong for these people not to make the easy rescue (The Principle of Easy Rescue). Second, it is wrong to stop making the easy rescue even if they have made many rescues already (The Inexhaustible Nature of Positive Duties). Third, if we accept the first two points, the demands of morality are super-extreme. That is, people have to keep making trivial sacrifices until there is no more trivial sacrifices to make (The Super-Extreme Nature of Moral Demands). Here, predictably, our commonsense will resist the third point. However, I argue in this paper that, since the first two points are harder to refute, we have to accept the third point anyway. Copyright © 2010 Koninklijke Brill.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Sin, W. (2010). Trivial sacrifices, great demands. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 7(1), 3-15.


  • Famine
  • Consequentialism
  • Iteration
  • Moral extremism
  • Principle of easy rescue
  • Problem of demandingness


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