Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):825-839 (2019)

Authors
Jens Johansson
Uppsala University
Abstract
In a typical non-identity case, the agent performs an action that causes someone to exist at a low but positive level of well-being, although an alternative was to create another, much happier person instead. There seem to be strong moral reasons against what the agent does, but it is difficult to explain how this can be so. In particular, it seems that on a simple counterfactual account of harm, the action does not harm anyone, as it does not make anyone worse off than he or she would have been had the action not been performed. In this paper, I criticize the response that the action nevertheless harms the actual child, as well as the response that it makes the counterfactual child worse off. I argue that the following alternative view deserves attention: a compound of the actual and the counterfactual child is made worse off by the action.
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-018-9933-3
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating?Elizabeth Harman - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
The Preemption Problem.Jens Johansson & Olle Risberg - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):351-365.

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