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The Ends of HarmThe Moral Foundations of Criminal Law$
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Victor Tadros

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554423.001.0001

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Wrongdoing and Motivation

Wrongdoing and Motivation

(p.139) 7 Wrongdoing and Motivation
The Ends of Harm

Victor Tadros

Oxford University Press

The traditional, but now unfashionable, interpretation of the means principle is that it is worse to harm a person intentionally than it is to harm them as a side-effect of one's actions. This account of the means principle regards the motivations of wrongdoers as important in determining whether or not an action is permissible. Many people now think that motivations cannot play a role in determining what is right or wrong. What is right or wrong is to be determined by the effects of the actions on others, and not by the motivations of the person doing the action. It is outwardly that we ought to look when deciding what to do, they claim, rather than inwardly. Chapter 7 defends a version of the traditional interpretation against this objection. It is argued that motivations with which an action is done are central to its permissibility.

Keywords:   intentions, permissibility, wrongdoing, motivations, trolley problem, Scanlon, Kamm

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