Originally published in 1980 this book argues that we are all responsible for the harm we could have prevented and explores the effect of this conclusion on a morality which makes fundamental the belief that we ought not to harm others if we can possibly avoid it. A theory of responsibility is developed and defended which has consequences for the way we live as well as for a number of problems in contemporary moral, political and social philosophy, and in jurisprudence. In particular, the author attacks the view that there is a moral difference between killing and letting die and proposes a radical conception of violence. Among other controversial issues covered in the book are neutrality, the ethics of organ transplants and the allocation of scarce resources.
Table of Contents
1. Humans and Persons 2. A Defence of Non-‘Violent’ Violence 3. Negative Actions 4. Killing and Letting Die 5. The Survival Lottery 6. The Fate of Others and Our Distance From It 7. Integrity, Sympathy and Negative Responsibility 8. Neutrality 9. The Bounds of Obligation
John Harris is Professor Emeritus University of Manchester, Visiting Professor in Bioethics, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Kings College London and Distinguished Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford.