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Doing Harm, Allowing Harm, and Denying Resources

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

Of great importance to many non-consequentialists is a claimed moral difference between doing and allowing harm. I argue that non-consequentialism is best understood, however, as consisting in three morally distinct categories where commentators typically identify two: standard doings of harm, standard allowings of harm, and denials of resources. Furthermore, the moral distinctness of denials of resources is independent of whether denials are doings or allowings of harm, I argue. I argue by way of matched examples, as well as by way of two widely accepted features of non-consequentialism: stringent rights of persons, and the susceptibility of resources to distribution within political society.


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