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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801221.001.0001

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The Moral Neglect of Negligence

The Moral Neglect of Negligence

Chapter:
(p.197) 8 The Moral Neglect of Negligence
Source:
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 3
Author(s):

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198801221.003.0009

The moral significance of negligence is regularly downplayed in the legal and philosophical literature. Two common tenets about negligence diminish its perceived importance: first, culpable negligence is substantially less significant than malice (as well as other intentionally inflicted wrongs); second, considered apart from its consequences, culpable negligence is a rather petty moral wrong. This paper argues, by contrast, that culpable negligence can be a serious moral and political wrong and non-negligence is a significant moral virtue. The paper sketches an account of moral and political negligence that stresses the significance of the agent’s motives and canvasses many examples, including an extended discussion of Edward Snowden as an example of a politically negligent agent. The discussion encompasses the connection between negligence and the act/omission distinction, the doctrine of double effect, our remedial responses and reactive attitudes toward negligence, and the connection between anti-discrimination norms and negligence.

Keywords:   negligence, culpable negligence, non-negligence, Edward Snowden, act/omission distinction, doctrine of double effect, anti-discrimination norms, feminism, punishment, remedies

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