Causation and Ethics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This article examines potential applications of the concept of cause to some central ethical concepts, views, and problems. In particular, it discusses the role of causation in the family of views known as consequentialism, the distinction between killing and letting die, the doctrine of double effect, and the concept of moral responsibility. The article aims to examine the extent to which an appeal to the concept of cause contributes to elucidating moral notions or to increasing the plausibility of moral views. Something that makes this task interestingly complex is the fact that the notion of causation itself is controversial and difficult to pin down. As a result, in some cases the success of its use in moral theory hinges on how certain debates about causation are resolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Causation
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577246
ISBN (Print)9780199279739
StatePublished - Jan 2 2010


  • Concept of cause
  • Consequentialism
  • Ethics
  • Moral responsibility
  • Moral theories
  • Moral views

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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