What Is Foot's Argument Of Morality?

814 Words4 Pages
The doing and allowing principle was presented by Foot in 1967 and can be summed up with: ‘doing’ as actions that are usually intended, whereas ‘allowing’ is refraining from preventing; also referred to as enabling. Now given a hypothetical case where a bystander is standing beside a lever which can be pulled to deviate a trolley onto a different track, then a runaway trolley begins heading down this track. If the trolley is to stay on the same track it will hit and kill five workers, however if the bystander pulls the lever so that the trolley now heads down a different track, it will be on a track where one person is working. According to the doing and allowing principle, the bystander for this scenario would be expected to not pull the lever, allowing the trolley to hit the five, as by pulling the lever they would be actively ‘doing’ the…show more content…
An opposing proposition to this is consequences, or; the principle of Consequentialism. This principle proposes that we each have a moral obligation to do the best we can do and act in attempt to the bring about the best result, potentially ignoring information about what we do or allow in the process (Feldman 1986). This suggests that for this scenario, moral choices should not play a factor in our decision, rather, that the end does justify the means. Asserting that it is obligatory for the bystander to flip the lever onto the other track and kill the one to save the five, as this implies the best result or consequence, because saving five lives is quantifiably greater than only saving one life.

A proposal for the flaws in consequentialism is that it does not factor in any moral interpretations, or whether an individual should even be considered as implicated in the potential outcome or consequence of an action simply due to their proximity to the event. An example to further explain this is the case of The
Open Document