The ethics of harming

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Commonsense morality rejects an unqualified requirement to promote the overall good. Moral constraints prohibit you from bringing about the overall good. For example, you seem morally required to save five people over one. But you seem prohibited from hurling an innocent bystander onto a live grenade that is going to kill five innocent strangers, thereby killing the bystander while shielding the five from the blast. This dissertation provides a defence of moral constraints and explores their practical implications.
Date of Award4 Dec 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorTheron Gene Pummer (Supervisor) & Simon Hope (Supervisor)


  • Normative ethics
  • Applied ethics
  • Deontological constraints

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