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Intervening Agents and Moral Responsibility

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Zimmerman, Professor and Philosophy Pre-Law Concentration Advisor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: If some bracken has caught fire because someone has thrown a lighted cigarette into it and, just as the flames are about to flicker out, you deliberately pour petrol on them, then you and you alone will be to blame for the ensuing forest-fire. If, as one of Nero's praetorian guards, you take it upon yourself to cut a Christian's throat because the latter has refused to profess belief in the divinity of Augustus, then you and you alone will be to blame for the unfortunate's death. If you torture a child because your enemy refuses to give you the information you want, then you and you alone will be to blame for the child's suffering. If you blow up a building because some reactionary businessman has refused to yield to your demand for money for the poor, then you and you alone will be to blame for the damage that results. If you buy a "lemon" from Big Al, the used-car dealer, even though you know his reputation for bad deals, then you and you alone will be to blame for demolishing a store-window when the car's rear wheel falls off. If you have too many drinks in a bar and kill a pedestrian when driving home, then you and you alone will be to blame for the death.

Additional Information

Publication
Philosophical Quarterly, 35 (1985): 347-358
Language: English
Date: 1985
Keywords
intervening agents, moral responsibility, conventional wisdom, blame, liability