This book is about the duty to relieve suffering. Jamie Mayerfield argues that this duty is far stronger than most of us acknowledge - an argument with far-reaching implications for how we should live. He begins by offering an account of the meaning ...
of suffering. From there he moves on to a discussion of the measurement and moral significance of suffering. Mayerfield argues that the prima facie duty (which may be overridden by other duties) to relieve suffering arises directly from the badness of suffering. The alleviation of suffering, he claims, is morally more important than the promotion of happiness. He goes on to examine the proper resolution of trade-offs internal to the duty to relieve suffering: e.g., what should we do when we can eliminate the suffering of one group of people or another, but not both? Finally, Mayerfield addresses the question of how to identify those occasions when the relief of suffering is not morally required or is indeed wrong.