letting someone die, and this helps account for these cases' being almost
as permissible as letting someone die is. But then Thomson's argument
should be supplemented by something like Condition 3, which emphasizes the definitional property of letting someone die: that someone loses
life that would be the result of being aided.
If Thomson's argument is not supplemented in this way, her reason
for permitting the violinist to be killed will not differentiate between
killing him when he uses your body and receives life support, and killing
him when he uses your body but does not receive life support. In the
latter case we might want to kill the violinist in order to stop making
efforts that we need not make in order to save his life, even though our
efforts are not now saving his life. Yet it may be that (as I have argued)
for efforts of a certain magnitude, it is more difficult to justify causing
someone to lose his life that he would have had independently of those
efforts than to cause him to lose what he has because of those efforts and
would not have had without them.
Here the direct effect of the imposition is considered to be the effect of
the imposition itself, independent of its success. That is, it is independent of
whether the violinist lives or dies. In other variations, one might assume that it is
the effect of the imposition plus the achieved aim (the violinist's surviving) that
causes further problems for you.
It was a conflicting view, that we could harm an innocent to stop aftereffects, that I defended in "The Insanity Defense."
David Wasserman helped separate my cases into classes.
As I was reminded by Seana Shiffrin.
Indeed, I believe that this reasoning anticipates Thomson's analyses of the
trolley problem, in "The Trolley Problem", Yale Law Journal 94( 1985):1395- 1415.
However, in connection with the second difference, suppose that someone
else would have offered a coat had Smith not already had Jones's on. I do not
believe that the fact that if we take away Jones's coat from Smith, Smith would
then be worse off than he would have been if he had never had Jones's coat
affects whether we may take it away. The reason is that in this case, it is not Jones who offered or is otherwise causally responsible for the use of his coat,
and so Jones is not responsible for interfering with other offers that Smith might