Doing and Allowing Harm

Doing and Allowing Harm

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Doing harm seems much harder to justify than merely allowing harm. If a boulder is rushing towards Bob, you may refuse to save Bob's life by driving your car into the path of the boulder if doing so would cost you your own life. You may not push the boulder towards Bob to save your own life. This principle-the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing-requires defence. Does the distinction between doing and allowing fall apart under scrutiny? When lives are at stake, how can it matter whether harm is done or allowed? Drawing on detailed analysis of the distinction between doing and allowing, Fiona Woollard argues that the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing is best understood as a principle that protects us from harmful imposition. Such protection against imposition is necessary for morality to recognize anything as genuinely belonging to a person, even that person's own body. As morality must recognize each person's body as belonging to her, the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing should be accepted. Woollard defends a moderate account of our obligations to aid, tackling arguments by Peter Singer and Peter Unger that we must give most of our money away and arguments from Robert Nozick that obligations to aid are incompatible with more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 22mm | 539.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199683646
  • 9780199683642
  • 1,676,863

About Fiona Woollard

Fiona Woollard has been a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Southampton since September 2010. She was born and raised in Scotland. She studied Philosophy and Mathematics at Magdalen College, Oxford, before returning to Scotland to do an M.Litt in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. She completed her PhD at the University of Reading in 2008 and then held a temporary lectureship at the University of Sheffield for two years. She has research interests in normative ethics, applied ethics, and the philosophy of sex and pregnancy, and has published on topics including the distinction between doing and allowing harm, climate change and the non-identity problem, the moral significance of numbers, pornography, and the norm of more

Review quote

Doing & Allowing Harm offers an excellent defence of the doctrine of doing and allowing. * Kasper Ossenblok, Ethical Perspectives * Woollard's book is meticulous and solidly argued and should be a natural starting point for future discussions of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing ... The core argument remains, in my view, quite convincing. * Jakob Elster, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * This is an engaging, clearly written, no nonsense, analytically sophisticated book by a gifted and clever philosopher working, with an appropriate combination of ambition and modesty, on a very important topic. * Samuel C. Rickless, Ethics *show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; 1. Introduction ; 2. The Distinction between Doing and Allowing ; 3. Substantial Facts ; 4. Removing Barriers ; 5. Counterexamples and Objections ; 6. Doing, Allowing, and Imposing ; 7. Saving Strangers: Analysis of Intuitions ; 8. Saving Strangers: Duties to Prevent Harm ; 9. Contractualism, Rule Consequentialism, and Doing and Allowing ; 10. Final Thoughts ; Appendix: A Measure on the Behaviour Space ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more