Killing, letting die and the bare difference argument

Bioethics 10 (2):131–139 (1996)
ABSTRACTI believe that there is no intrinsic moral difference between killing and letting die. That is, there is no difference that depends solely on the distinction between an act and an omission. I also believe that we can reasonably establish this thesis by appeal to the Bare Difference Argument. The form of this argument involves considering two imaginary cases in which there are no morally relevant differences present, save the bare difference that one is a case of killing and one a case of letting die. But in the pair of cases under consideration this bare difference makes no moral difference. Hence it cannot be that the bare difference between killing and letting die is in itself a morally important difference.Winston Nesbitt has recently argued that the Bare Difference Argument fails because “the examples produced typically possess a feature which makes their use in this context illegitimate, and that when modified to remove this feature, they provide support for the view which they were designed to undermine”. I argue that Nesbitt misunderstands the logic of the Bare Difference Argument and that accordingly his objections are mistaken.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.1996.tb00112.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #98,885 of 1,725,611 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,437 of 1,725,611 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.