By Fiona Woollard
Doing damage turns out a lot tougher to justify than basically permitting damage. If a boulder is speeding in the direction of Bob, you could refuse to avoid wasting Bob’s existence by means of using your motor vehicle into the trail of the boulder if doing so might fee you your individual existence. you'll no longer push the boulder in the direction of Bob to save lots of your personal lifestyles. This principle--the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing--requires defence. Does the excellence among doing and permitting crumble below scrutiny? while lives are at stake, how can it topic even if damage is completed or allowed? Drawing on specified research of the excellence among doing and permitting, Fiona Woollard argues that the Doctrine of Doing and permitting is healthier understood as a precept that protects us from damaging imposition. Such defense opposed to imposition is important for morality to acknowledge something as surely belonging to an individual, even that person’s personal physique. As morality needs to realize each one person’s physique as belonging to her, the Doctrine of Doing and permitting will be accredited. Woollard defends a reasonable account of our responsibilities to help, tackling arguments via Peter Singer and Peter Unger that we needs to provide so much of our cash away and arguments from Robert Nozick that tasks to help are incompatible with self-ownership.
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Additional resources for Doing and Allowing Harm
However, there are two reasons why we cannot simply appeal to the idea of causation to explain why someone’s behaviour counts as part of a sequence. First, it is not clear that we can help ourselves to the real cause/mere condition distinction. 9 According to both counterfactual accounts and INUS accounts, which of the relevant conditions counts as a real cause is a matter of the context of enquiry. Roughly speaking, these accounts do not leave us with a difference between real cause and mere condition based on the nature of causation.
To find the facts that count as part of the sequence leading to an outcome, we have to trace back the unbroken chains of substantial facts. An agent will only count as doing harm if the agent is connected to the harm through such an unbroken chain. 5 may help to illustrate this. 5 represents a situation where several different agents are relevant to a harmful outcome. Suppose that Anna, Betty, Carla, and Daisy have all suffered snakebites and need to get to hospital for treatment. Anna pushes a boulder out of her path.
2 However, a sentence need not be negative to express a negative fact. ’ Moreover, features of the sentences we use to express facts cannot on their own affect whether those facts are substantial or non-substantial. A fact cannot count as substantial simply because it is expressed by a sentence with an even number of negating expressions. 3 My account of the positive/negative distinction is drawn from the work of Jonathan Bennett. Bennett speaks of positive versus negative facts rather than positive versus negative acts or positive versus negative events.