This is the third part of the analysis of the doing/allowing distinction. Non-substantial facts are normally simply background conditions and do not count as part of the sequence leading to the harm. Yet, in some situations, a non-substantial fact can count as part of the sequence leading to harm: the fact counts as relatively substantial. In this case, an agent counts as doing harm even though the agent has merely removed a barrier to harm. It discusses Jeff McMahan’s account of the removal of barriers and suggests some modifications to his view. Removal of a barrier counts as doing harm if and only if (a) the barrier belongs to the victim or to a third party who has given, or would give, valid authorization for the barrier to be used to protect the victim or (b) the victim has the strongest non-need based claim on the barrier. In such cases the normally non-substantial fact that the barrier is absent counts as relatively substantial, so the relevant fact about the agent is part of the sequence leading to harm.
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