Southwest Philosophy Review 27 (1):129-137 (2011)

Duncan Purves
University of Florida
The aim of this paper is to explain and defend a type of argument common in the doing/allowing literature called a “contrast argument.” I am concerned with defending a particular type of contrast argument that is intended to demonstrate the moral irrelevance of the doing/allowing distinction. This type of argument, referred to in this paper as an “irrelevance argument,” is exemplified by an argument offered by James Rachels (1975) that employs the Smith and Jones bathtub cases. My main contention in this paper is that none of the objections to the use of irrelevance arguments are successful, and that they still pose a genuine challenge to defenders of the moral relevance of the doing/allowing distinction.
Keywords Doing/Allowing Distinction  Deontology  Contrast Cases  Consequentialism
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview201127114
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