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Lesser-Evil Justifications for Harming: Why We're Required to Turn the Trolley
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4754-6847
2018 (English)In: Philosophical quarterly (Print), ISSN 0031-8094, E-ISSN 1467-9213Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Much philosophical attention has been paid to the question of whether, and why, one may divert a runaway trolley away from where it will kill five people to where it will kill one. But little attention has been paid to whether the reasons that ground a permission to divert thereby ground a duty to divert. This paper defends the Requirement Thesis, which holds that one is, ordinarily, required to act on lesser-evil justifications for harming for the sake of others. Cases in which we have lesser-evil justifications of harming for the sake of others are rescue cases. Ordinarily, an agent is under a duty to rescue unless doing so imposes too great a cost on her, or violates someone else's rights. When neither of these defeating conditions obtain, one is required to rescue even if this involves causing harm to innocent people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keyword [en]
lesser-evil justifications, harming, self-defence, trolley problem, by-standers, duties to rescue
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154919DOI: 10.1093/pq/pqx065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154919DiVA, id: diva2:1195895
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 1521101
Available from: 2018-04-06 Created: 2018-04-06 Last updated: 2018-04-10

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