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Doing and Allowing Harm$
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Fiona Woollard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199683642

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683642.001.0001

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The Distinction between Doing and Allowing

The Distinction between Doing and Allowing

(p.21) 2 The Distinction between Doing and Allowing
Doing and Allowing Harm

Fiona Woollard

Oxford University Press

This chapter begin the analysis of the distinction between doing and allowing. Drawing on the work of Philippa Foot, it suggests that an agent counts as doing harm if and only if some fact about the agent’s behaviour is part of the sequence leading to the harm. Substantial facts are suitable to be part of the sequence leading to an outcome, whereas non-substantial facts are, normally, merely background conditions. If an agent is only relevant to a sequence through a non-substantial fact, the fact about his or her behaviour will not count as part of the sequence.

Keywords:   distinction between doing and allowing, Philippa Foot, sequences

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