Moral inertia

Philosophical Studies 140 (1):117 - 133 (2008)
I argue that, according to ordinary morality, there is moral inertia, that is, moral pressure to fail to intervene in certain circumstances. Moral inertia is manifested in scenarios with a particular causal structure: deflection scenarios, where a threatening or benefiting process is diverted from a group of people to another. I explain why the deflection structure is essential for moral inertia to be manifested. I argue that there are two different manifestations of moral inertia: strict prohibitions on interventions, and constraints on interventions. Finally, I discuss the connection between moral inertia and the distinction between killing and letting die (or doing and allowing harm).
Keywords Killing  Letting die  Deflection  Causation  Trolley  Malm
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/27734283
 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: 15,831
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
Shelly Kagan (1998). Normative Ethics. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
N. Hall (2007). Structural Equations and Causation. Philosophical Studies 132 (1):109 - 136.

View all 11 references / 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

46 ( #72,654 of 1,724,748 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #72,187 of 1,724,748 )

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.