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Single Idea 21136

[catalogued under 24. Applied Ethics / A. Decision Conflicts / 5. Omissions]

Full Idea

Most uitlitarians do not distinguish between acts and omissions, and see no morally relevant difference between walking past a drowning child and pushing a child into a pond.

Gist of Idea

Utilitarians conflate acts and omissions; causing to drown and failing to save are the same

Source

Andrew Shorten (Contemporary Political Theory [2016], 09)

A Reaction

He cites Peter Singer as an instance. The notorious Trolley Problem focuses on such issues. Michael Sandel in 'Justice' is good on that. If motive and intention matter, the two cases could be very different. Too timid to push, but also too timid to help?

Book Reference

Shorten,Andrew: 'Contemporary Political Theory' [Palgrave 2016], p.264