Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Doing, Allowing, Framing: A Case for Moral Heuristics

Issue: • Author/s: Camilla F. Colombo
Topics: Ethics, Metaethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of action, Theoretical philosophy

Is doing harm morally worse than allowing it to occur? Our every-day intuitions, supported by a long-standing tradition in moral philosophy, suggest that this is the case. Nonetheless, the study of framing effects and cognitive biases has pointed out that our intuitions over the doing/allowing distinction are far from robust and reliable. This line of research casts doubts over the adequacy of our intuitions in grounding the moral principle “doing is worse than allowing” and seems to downplay the doing/allowing distinction as a cognitive bias or as a byproduct of…