The Significance of Unintentional Omission: Moral Responsibility for the Failure to Act

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The Significance of Unintentional Omission: Moral Responsibility for the Failure to Act

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dc.contributor.advisor Smith, Angela M en_US
dc.contributor.author Benchimol, Jason en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-13T17:39:37Z
dc.date.available 2012-09-13T17:39:37Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09-13
dc.date.submitted 2012 en_US
dc.identifier.other Benchimol_washington_0250E_10249.pdf en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1773/20887
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Washington, 2012 en_US
dc.description.abstract Many people, if asked, would probably say that we are morally responsible only for actions we voluntarily and intentionally choose to perform. But the phenomenon of unintentional omission poses a special problem for this view about the preconditions of moral responsibility. Imagine a lifeguard who carelessly fell asleep while on duty and, as a result, failed (unintentionally) to assist a struggling swimmer as she should have. It seems that what the lifeguard is morally responsible for in this circumstance is not an intentionally chosen action, but an unintentional omission. I argue that unintentional omissions like these can at least sometimes be understood to reflect an agent's judgments about the significance of normative reasons. This is all that is required for an agent to be morally responsible for an unintentional omission. My argument helps to explain why the view that we are morally responsible only for actions we voluntarily and intentionally choose to perform is mistaken. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Ethics; Moral Responsibility; Omission; Scanlon; Smith; Volitionalism en_US
dc.subject.other Philosophy en_US
dc.subject.other Philosophy en_US
dc.title The Significance of Unintentional Omission: Moral Responsibility for the Failure to Act en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.embargo.terms No embargo en_US


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