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Dividing Harm

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[In this paper I argue that mere causal contribution to harm is morally significant on two counts: a) innocent aggressors have a duty to bear additional costs to help protect their potential victims, as compared to the duty innocent bystanders are expected to bear, and correspondingly; b) it is permissible to use more force against innocent aggressors, as used in self-defense and defense of others, than innocent bystanders. The paper has two parts. First I aim to demonstrate the intuitive plausibility of this proposal and what I call “the asymmetrical fair share procedure.” According to this procedure, innocent aggressors have a duty to take on a fair share of the harm if dividing it is possible, and a fair share of the risk of being harmed if redistribution of harm is impossible. In the second part, I develop a contractual account explaining why mere contribution is morally significant., In this paper I argue that mere causal contribution to harm is morally significant on two counts: a) innocent aggressors have a duty to bear additional costs to help protect their potential victims, as compared to the duty innocent bystanders are expected to bear, and correspondingly; b) it is permissible to use more force against innocent aggressors, as used in self-defense and defense of others, than innocent bystanders. The paper has two parts. First I aim to demonstrate the intuitive plausibility of this proposal and what I call “the asymmetrical fair share procedure.” According to this procedure, innocent aggressors have a duty to take on a fair share of the harm if dividing it is possible, and a fair share of the risk of being harmed if redistribution of harm is impossible. In the second part, I develop a contractual account explaining why mere contribution is morally significant.]

Affiliations: 1: Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN), University of Oslo, 0315 Oslo, Norway, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), Charles Sturt University, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia, gerhardo@csmn.uio.no

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