Accountability and Intervening Agency: An Asymmetry between Upstream and Downstream Actors

Utilitas 29 (1):110-114 (2017)
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Abstract
Suppose someone (P1) does something that is wrongful only in virtue of the risk that it will enable another person (P2) to commit a wrongdoing. Suppose further that P1’s conduct does indeed turn out to enable P2’s wrongdoing. The resulting wrong is agentially mediated: P1 is an enabling agent and P2 is an intervening agent. Whereas the literature on intervening agency focuses on whether P2’s status as an intervening agent makes P1’s conduct less bad, I turn this issue on its head by investigating whether P1’s status as an enabling agent makes P2’s conduct more bad. I argue that it does: P2 wrongs not just the victims of ϕ but P1 as well, by acting in a way that wrongfully makes P1 accountable for ϕ. This has serious implications for compensatory and defensive liability in cases of agentially mediated wrongs.
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2017
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BAZAAI-2
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Archival date: 2017-11-22
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Necessity, Moral Liability, and Defensive Harm.Firth, Joanna Mary & Quong, Jonathan

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2017-04-24

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