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Affirmative Duties and the Limits of Self-Sacrifice

Larry Alexander
Law and Philosophy
Vol. 15, No. 1 (1996), pp. 65-74
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3504811
Page Count: 10
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Affirmative Duties and the Limits of Self-Sacrifice
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Abstract

American criminal law reflects the absence of any general duty of Good Samaritanism. Nonetheless, there are some circumstances in which it imposes affirmative duties to aid others. In those circumstances, however, the duty to aid is canceled whenever aiding subjects the actor to a certain level of risk or sacrifice, a level that can be less than the risk or sacrifice faced by the beneficiary if not aided. In this article, I demonstrate that this approach to limiting affirmative duties to aid encounters the same problem of moral arbitrariness as does a "moral catastrophe" override of deontological side-constraints.

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