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Intricate EthicsRights, Responsibilities, and Permissible Harm$
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F. M. Kamm

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189698.001.0001

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Toward the Essence of Nonconsequentialist Constraints on Harming

Toward the Essence of Nonconsequentialist Constraints on Harming

Modality, Productive Purity, and the Greater Good Working Itself Out

(p.130) 5 Toward the Essence of Nonconsequentialist Constraints on Harming
Intricate Ethics

F. M. Kamm

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews several proposals that have been made to account for when it is permissible to harm innocent bystanders, including the Doctrine of Triple Effect. It considers problems that seem to arise for each of these proposals and then introduces two new proposals—the Doctrine of Initial Justification and the Doctrine of Productive Purity (DPP). It argues for substitution rather than subordination of persons as a way of dealing with conflicts between people. In addition, it draws connections between what we learn from considering the Trolley Problem and what are known as innocent threats. The chapter also examines when a principle of permissible harm may be overridden. The Doctrine of Initial Justification and the DPP reveal certain crucial distinctions between permissible and impermissible harm. Finally, the chapter concludes by considering how the DPP deals with a moral problem typically discussed by supporters of the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) and the DDE Revised—distinguishing the terror bombing of innocent civilians from tactical bombing.

Keywords:   Doctrine of Triple Effect, Doctrine of Initial Justification, Doctrine of Productive Purity, innocent threats, impermissible harm, substitution, subordination, conflicts, permissible harm, terror bombing

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