Constraints and You

F. M. Kamm

in Morality, Mortality Volume II: Rights, Duties, and Status

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780195144024
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870998 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

 Constraints and You

Show Summary Details


Examines the question of whether it is morally permissible to treat people in ways ruled out by the Principle of Permissible Harm (PPH; this was introduced in Ch. 7 and provides an account of certain restrictions/constraints on killing) only for the sake of minimizing violations of the PPH itself, or whether there is a constraint on doing this. Ch. 9 examines further one approach to the Selection Problem introduced in Ch. 8 that arises in justifying restrictions/constraints, namely, agent differentiation: the fact that something would be done by me rather than by someone else. Traditional victim‐focussed views (the victim's right or the inappropriateness of the relation in which he would stand to those for whom he would be sacrificed constrain and make it wrong for the agent to kill) are contrasted with four revisionist (agent‐relative and agent‐focussed) views on dealing with cases in which one person is killed in order to save others from being killed. Different notions of the self, act‐scenes, negative factors to be avoided, temporal dimensions, doomed victims, and degrees of self‐indulgence are examined in relation to the problem of justifying the constraint. One revisionist view is shown to bear a crucial similarity to the traditional view.

Keywords: act‐scenes; agent differentiation; agent‐focussed views; constraints on killing; doomed victims; killing some to save others; Permissible Harm; Principle of Permissible Harm; restrictions on killing; revisionist views; Selection Problem; self‐indulgence; temporal dimensions; victim‐focussed views; views of the self

Chapter.  12646 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.