Title

The Means Principle and Optimific Wrongs

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Abstract

Scholars have argued that it is impermissible to prevent deontological and optimific wrongs. That is, it is wrong to stop someone from pushing the massive man in front of a trolley that will otherwise kill five people and it is wrong to wake or move the massive man on the trolley tracks if his body will otherwise stop the trolley from killing five people. This chapter maintains this approach is misguided. A more nuanced understanding of the means principle yields that because the five people are not entitled to the sleeping man’s serving as a shield for them, not only is he allowed to get up but also third parties are entitled to wake or move him. Agents must recognize the normative relationships between patients and how these relationships bear on what agents may do.

Keywords

Moral philosophy, metaethics, deontology, consequentialism, trolley problem, harm

Publication Title

Moral Puzzles and Legal Perplexities: Essays on the Influence of Larry Alexander

Publication Citation

In Moral Puzzles and Legal Perplexities: Essays on the Influence of Larry Alexander (Heidi Hurd ed., Cambridge 2018)

Full text not available in Penn Law Legal Scholarship Repository.

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