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The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others$
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Joel Feinberg

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780195046649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195046641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Failures to Prevent Harm

Failures to Prevent Harm

(p.126) 4 Failures to Prevent Harm
The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others

Joel Feinberg

Oxford University Press

Feinberg addresses two questions. First, are bad Samaritan laws morally legitimate? He believes they are since it is important to avoid serious harm to personal interests, and persons in danger have a right to be saved by those who can do so without unreasonable risk. Second, does the harm principle cover blamable failure to prevent harm? Feinberg holds that requiring people to help prevent harm is sometimes as reasonable a legal policy as preventing people, by threat of punishment, from actively causing harm. This conclusion does not represent a departure from the harm principle, he argues, since, in some circumstances, omissions may cause harm.

Keywords:   bad Samaritan laws, failure to prevent harm, harm principle, omission, personal interests, serious harm

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