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 IAmAnAtheist » Can I Be Blamed for Harm Someone Else Does?

Can I Be Blamed for Harm Someone Else Does?


I wouldn’t have stolen your car if you hadn’t left your keys in it.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation if you are willing to accept blame (or a portion of the blame) for bad actions that involve you, even if you had no intention of doing anything wrong. It may not be a Q1 violation in certain cases if you believe that leading someone into temptation is morally wrong.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation so long as you allow everyone to assign blame in this manner.


The question here is whether or not creating opportunity or temptation that leads to an immoral act is in any way blameworthy. Is it blameworthy only when causing someone else to do something immoral was the goal of setting up the opportunity or offering temptation? Is it blameworthy only when the immoral act was foreseeable? Are you responsible when the immoral act would have occurred without the opportunity or temptation you created, but the target of that act would have changed?

Consider the below statements. In which (if any) is blame being correctly assigned?

A related question is where to assign blame when someone has created a situation in which a moral act will have an unintended but foreseeable consequence. What would be the moral thing to do in these situations? And who is to blame if things go bad?

Finally, if you would not accept blame for harm someone else does, would you accept credit for a good deed someone else does? For example, if you donate money to a charity that builds a school, will you accept some degree of credit for the school? If it turns out the school was built on toxic soil, will you then accept some of the blame? If not, what’s the difference?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on July 10, 2010 at 10:21 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

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