La relevancia del número de vidas en situaciones de necesidad

Translated title of the contribution: The relevance of the number of lives in cases of necessity

Alejandro Miranda Montecinos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper critically analyzes, from a philosophical-legal perspective, the “principle of irrelevance of numbers”, that is, the thesis according to which in a case of necessity it is inadmissible to invoke as justification the weighting according to the number of human lives in conflict. The author tries to show that this principle, in itself, fails to withstand philosophical criticism, and must therefore be abandoned. With this aim, he proceeds as follows. First, the principle of irrelevance of numbers and the conclusions that have been tried to be drawn from it are explained. Second, he shows that these conclusions really confuse the issue of numbers with other morally relevant factors, which can explain them. Third, arguments are presented to prove that numbers are relevant even in the context of a non-consequentialist theory that recognizes the inviolability of the dignity of the person. Fourth, some objections against the relevance of numbers are examined. Finally, the problem of the relevance of numbers as a legal justification is explored.

Translated title of the contributionThe relevance of the number of lives in cases of necessity
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
JournalIus et Praxis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

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  • Number of lives
  • necessity
  • proportionality


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