What the eye doesn't see: An analysis of strategies for justifying acts by an appeal for concealing them

Ethics and Behavior 16 (4):363 – 375 (2006)
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This article analyzes the moral reasoning implied in a very commonly used expression, namely, "What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over", or "What you don't know won't hurt you." It especially deals with situations in which it is used for trying to justify acts that are, in themselves, reprehensible. For instance, when a cheating husband tries to justify his adultery by appealing to the alleged fact that he does not tell his wife about it and thus she is not harmed by it: "If you are not informed, you are not hurt" (NINH). The components of NINH reasoning are unfolded, as well as its grounds, starting from a consequentialistic, deontological, or virtue ethics perspective. Two special characteristics of NINH reasoning are discussed, namely, that it tries to bridge deontological and consequentialistic approaches of morality in a commonsense way and that it contains a special type of paternalism. Finally, some ethical implications are discussed.



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Virtue Ethics.Roger Crisp & Michael Slote - 1997 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (2):379-380.
Virtue ethics.Michael Slote - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie. Routledge. pp. 325--347.
Who should decide?: Paternalism in health care.James F. Childress - 1982 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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