The puzzle(S) of frankfurt-style omission cases

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Can we be morally responsible for omitting to do things that we were not able to do? Although at first sight it appears that we cannot, some have argued that Frankfurt-style omission cases show otherwise. This generates a puzzle that resists an easy solution. This chapter argues that solving this puzzle is like opening a can of worms, in that identifying the right solution to it generates other even more intricate and more interesting puzzles. The chapter then offers some tentative solutions to the puzzles, old and new, but its main goal is to draw attention to the problems, and to uncover the kinds of elements that we would need to solve them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ethics and Law of Omissions
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780190683450
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Alternative possibility
  • Frankfurt-style case
  • Moral responsibility
  • Omission
  • Thirsty traveler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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