Economics and Philosophy 29 (2):213-233 (2013)

Authors
Natalie Gold
King's College London
Abstract
There is a long-standing debate in philosophy about whether it is morally permissible to harm one person in order to prevent a greater harm to others and, if not, what is the moral principle underlying the prohibition. Hypothetical moral dilemmas are used in order to probe moral intuitions. Philosophers use them to achieve a reflective equilibrium between intuitions and principles, psychologists to investigate moral decision-making processes. In the dilemmas, the harms that are traded off are almost always deaths. However, the moral principles and psychological processes are supposed to be broader than this, encompassing harms other than death. Further, if the standard pattern of intuitions is preserved in the domain of economic harm, then that would open up the possibility of studying behavior in trolley problems using the tools of experimental economics. We report the results of two studies designed to test whether the standard patterns of intuitions are preserved when the domain and severity of harm are varied. Our findings show that the difference in moral intuitions between bystander and footbridge scenarios is replicated across different domains and levels of physical and non-physical harm, including economic harms.
Keywords trolley problem  moral intuition  physical harm  economic harm  emotional harm   doctrine of double effect   universal moral grammar
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0266267113000205
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,041
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Limits of Emotion in Moral Judgment.Joshua May - 2018 - In Karen Jones & Francois Schroeter (eds.), The Many Moral Rationalisms. Oxford University Press. pp. 286-306.
Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments.Joshua May - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (11):745-755.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Harm and Its Moral Significance.Seana Valentine Shiffrin - 2012 - Legal Theory 18 (3):357-398.
Identifying Harms.Shlomit Harrosh - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (9):493-498.
Death's Distinctive Harm.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):317-30.
The Moral Status of Enabling Harm.Samuel C. Rickless - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.
A Critique of Scanlon on Double Effect.Joshua Stuchlik - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (2):178-199.
The Significance of Transferred Intent.Peter Westen - 2013 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 7 (2):321-350.
The Metaphysics of Death.John Martin Fischer (ed.) - 1993 - Stanford University Press.
Scanlon on the Doctrine of Double Effect.Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (4):541-564.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-05

Total views
119 ( #82,467 of 2,410,719 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #540,271 of 2,410,719 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes