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Oxford Studies in Experimental PhilosophyVolume 1$
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Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo, and Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718765.001.0001

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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: 24 July 2021

Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm

Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm

An Empirical Investigation*

(p.62) 3 Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm
Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy

Christian Barry

Matthew Lindauer

Gerhard Øverland

Oxford University Press

Traditionally, moral philosophers have distinguished between doing and allowing harm, and have normally proceeded as if this bipartite distinction can exhaustively characterize all cases of human conduct involving harm. Cognitive scientists and psychologists studying causal judgment have investigated the concept “enable” as distinct from “cause” and other causal terms, yet empirical work has generally not focused on cases where human agents enable harm. This chapter presents new empirical evidence to support the claim that some important cases in the moral philosophical literature are best described as instances of enabling harm rather than doing or allowing harm. The chapter also presents evidence that enabling harm is regarded as normatively distinct from doing and allowing harm in terms of compensatory responsibility. The chapter concludes that research in moral philosophy and moral psychology should investigate a tripartite distinction between doing, allowing, and enabling harm, rather than simply the traditional bipartite distinction

Keywords:   enabling harm, the doing-allowing distinction, enable, causation, compensatory responsibility

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