Polish Journal of Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Erich Rast
Pages 65-74

Harming Yourself and Others: a Note on the Asymmetry of Agency in Action Evaluations

Principles are investigated that allow one to establish a preference ordering between possible actions based on the question of whether the acting agent himself or other agents will benefit or be harmed by the consequences of an action. It is shown that a combination of utility maximization, an altruist principle, and weak negative utilitarianism yields an ordering that seems to be intuitively appealing, although it does not necessarily reflect common everyday evaluations of actions.