more from Jonathan Glover

Single Idea 4660

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

Full Idea

Harmful omissions are unavoidable, while most harmful acts can be avoided.

Gist of Idea

Harmful omissions are unavoidable, while most harmful acts can be avoided

Source

Jonathan Glover (Causing Death and Saving Lives [1977], 7.8)

Book Reference

Glover,Jonathan: 'Causing Death and Saving Lives' [Penguin 1982], p.104


A Reaction

This does suggest why we get angry with bad actions, but are very tolerant of omissions. It is also easier to motivate positive actions than to worry about things undone. Omissions can be disgraceful.