On the Equivalence of Trolleys and Transplants: The Lack of Intrinsic Difference between ‘Collateral Damage’ and Intended Harm

Utilitas 26 (4):432-479 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In this article I attempt to show conclusively that the apparent intrinsic difference between causing collateral damage and directly attacking innocents is an illusion. I show how eleven morally irrelevant alterations can transform an apparently permissible case of harming as a side-effect into an apparently impermissible case of harming as a means. The alterations are as obviously irrelevant as the victims’ skin colour, and consistently treating them as relevant would have unacceptable implications for choices between more and less harmful ways of securing greater goods. This shows not only how the principles philosophers have proposed for distinguishing between these cases cannot withstand scrutiny, but how we can be sure that there are no relevant differences yet to be discovered. I conclude by considering reasons to think that there are deontological constraints against harming, but that they apply just as forcefully against collateral harms as they do against intended harms.
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
353 ( #18,352 of 2,448,773 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #53,301 of 2,448,773 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.