Volume 29, Issue 2, Fall 2015
Punishing Atypical Dirty Hands
Assessing the Moral Value of Coordination Failure
Should those who get dirty hands (DH) always be punished in the same way? Must their punishment be regardless of the background elements that determined the DH dilemma, which has polluted their morality? This paper holds that common arguments in favour of punishing DH overlook the important difference between classic DH dilemmas that are structurally inescapable and those that are caused by a collective action problem. My thesis emphasizes that in talking about DH, our analysis should go beyond the structure of the dilemma. We should also take into serious consideration the background dynamics that made the choice between two evils inevitable.