Philosophy Compass 7 (7):459-469 (2012)

Fiona Woollard
University of Southampton
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the second of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the moral status of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I look at objections to the doctrine such as James’ Rachels’ Wicked Uncle Case and Jonathan Bennett’s argument that any acceptable analysis of the distinction leaves it implausible that the distinction is morally relevant. I consider putative defences of the Doctrine from Philippa Foot and Warren Quinn. I argue that neither Foot not Quinn provides a satisfactory justification of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, but that the idea of self-ownership discussed by Quinn can be developed to provide a justification of the doctrine
Keywords doing vs allowing  ethics  deontology
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00492.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Active and Passive Euthanasia.James Rachels - 1975 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Two Ways to Kill a Patient.Ben Bronner - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (1):44-63.
Doing, Allowing, and the Problem of Evil.Daniel Lim - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (3):273-289.
On the Doing-Allowing Distinction and the Problem of Evil: A Reply to Daniel Lim.Andrew Loke - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (2):137-143.

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The Moral Status of Enabling Harm.Samuel C. Rickless - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.
The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing.Samuel C. Rickless - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (4):555-575.


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