Lesser-Evil Justifications: A Reply to Frowe

Law and Philosophy 41:639–646 (2022)
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Sometimes one can prevent harm only by contravening rights. If the harm one can prevent is great enough, compared to the stringency of the opposing rights, then one has a lesser-evil justification to contravene the rights. Non-consequentialist orthodoxy holds that, most of the time, lesser-evil justifications add to agents’ permissible options without taking any away. Helen Frowe rejects this view. She claims that, almost always, agents must act on their lesser-evil justifications. Our primary task is to refute Frowe’s flagship argument. Secondarily, it is to sketch a positive case for nonconsequentialist orthodoxy.

Author Profiles

Kerah Gordon-Solmon
Queen's University
Theron Pummer
University of St. Andrews


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