Benefits, Entitlements and Non‐Responsible Threats

Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (3):405-419 (2019)
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Abstract

This article offers an explanation for the proposed moral asymmetry between non‐responsible threats and innocent bystanders. Some argue that a non‐responsible threat – a person who threatens another through no fault or choice – is required to bear a greater burden to avert the threat than a bystander. I argue that previous attempts to explain this asymmetry are either incorrect or incomplete, since they either implausibly suggest that agents who do not benefit from their bodily resources, or whose bodily resources primarily benefit third parties, are liable to greater costs than a bystander, or fail to accommodate such cases. Instead, the asymmetry (when it exists) is explained either by virtue of the fact that the non‐responsible threat has a beneficiary status with respect to the threatening object, or possesses distribution‐limiting entitlements over the threatening object.

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