I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

467. Doing Harm Or Allowing Harm

467.   Doing Harm Or Allowing Harm
"People typically say they are invoking an ethical principle when they judge acts that cause harm more harshly than willful inaction that allows that same harm to occur."

"A new study based on brain scans, however, shows that people make that moral distinction automatically. Researchers found that it requires conscious reasoning to decide that active and passive behaviors that are equally harmful are equally wrong."

"an overly competitive figure skater in one case loosens the skate blade of a rival, or in another case, notices that the blade is loose and fails to warn anyone. In both cases, the rival skater loses the competition and is seriously injured. Whether it is by acting, or willfully failing to act, the overly competitive skater did the same harm."

This is a very special example, but the problem is complexer than it seems superficially.  Therefore, morally evaluating this omission has to consider some additional factors.
  • The probability of the harm.
    Someone causing harm proactively can be sure that if he succeeds, the harm has been caused by him.   
    In the case of the harm after an omission of interference, the one deciding not to interfere cannot be certain of the probability of the harm to really happen.     Something else can impede it.

  • The responsibility for the cause.  
    The person, who proactively harms another, is the responsible cause of the harm, which can be attributed to his actions.  But the person, who omits to prevent another from harm, is not causing the harm, only not disabling it.  
  • The priority of responsibility.  
    People are supposed to take care of themselves before relying upon others.   Especially in the case of a dangerous activity, the person is primarily responsible himself to carefully check the equipment to avoid harm.   This includes in the example to check the skates before using them.  
  • The recognition of impending harm.  
    When in the example a non-skater looks at the skates, he may not even notice anything wrong. 
  • The benefits from the omission.  
    In the example, the competitor benefits.  But often, people omit warning or protecting without any selfish motives.
  • The negative consequences of interference.  
    Interference can be punished.   In the example of the skater, the warning could lead to an angry reaction by someone already aware of the need to fix the skates.    Someone calling an ambulance by mistake for someone not really sick could be made to pay.