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 10.1007/s11098-008-9229-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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,824
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Structural Equations and Causation.N. Hall - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):109 - 136.
The Theory of Morality.Alan Donagan - 1977 - University of Chicago Press.
Active and Passive Euthanasia.James Rachels - 1975 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
In Defense of Artificial Replacement.Derek Shiller - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (2):393-399.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Existential Inertia and the Five Ways.Edward Feser - 2011 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2):237-267.
Reference Systems and Inertia.Beryl E. Clotfelter - 1970 - Ames, Iowa State University Press.
The Relativity of Inertia and Reality of Nothing.Alexander Afriat & Ermenegildo Caccese - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):9-26.
Moral Inertia.Mary Maxwell - 1992 - Zygon 27 (1):51-64.
The World's Continuance: Divine Conservation or Existential Inertia?John Beaudoin - 2007 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (2):83 - 98.
Inertia and Determinism.Jason Zimba - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):417-428.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

55 ( #96,513 of 2,178,143 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #112,599 of 2,178,143 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums