The Moral Status of Enabling Harm

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86 (2011)

Samuel C. Rickless
University of California, San Diego
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, it is more difficult to justify doing harm than it is to justify allowing harm. Enabling harm consists in withdrawing an obstacle that would, if left in place, prevent a pre-existing causal sequence from leading to foreseen harm. There has been a lively debate concerning the moral status of enabling harm. According to some (e.g. McMahan, Vihvelin and Tomkow), many cases of enabling harm are morally indistinguishable from doing harm. Others (e.g. Foot, Hanser) support the Equivalence Hypothesis, according to which enabling harm is morally equivalent to allowing harm. Here I argue that there is every reason to embrace, and no reason to reject, the Equivalence Hypothesis
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2010.01385.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Causation by Disconnection.Jonathan Schaffer - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):285-300.
Active and Passive Euthanasia.James Rachels - 1975 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Local Priorities, Universal Priorities, and Enabling Harm.Christian Barry - 2012 - Ethics and International Affairs 26 (1):21-26.
Harm, Responsibility, and Enforceability.Christian Barry - 2019 - Ethics and Global Politics 12 (1):76-97.

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