Applying Taurek’s ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ to (un)justify Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A combination of historiography and applied ethics
There is a belief that the use of the atomic bombs caused the end of the Pacific War and thus saved many lives. However, historical accounts indicate that the war could have ended less destructively. A greater number of Japanese civilians died from the atomic bombs than the expected casualties of American soldiers – casting doubt on justification for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, Taurek’s ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ reveals that numbers may not necessarily play a role in making a moral decision. This paper examines Taurek’s ethical arguments in relation to the historical events and concludes that, while Taurek’s argument may appear plausible, his philosophical ideas do not adequately justify the use of the atomic bombs.