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Kamm Reading Group
By S. Matthew Liao

To help launch Ethics Etc, we will shortly be running an online reading group on Frances Kamm’s new book Intricate Ethics: Rights, Responsibilities, and Permissible Harm. The Table of Contents for her book is as follows:

I. Nonconsequentialism and the trolley problem
1. Nonconsequentialism       
2. Aggregation and two moral methods        
3. Intention, harm, and the possibility of a unified theory    
4. The doctrines of double and triple effect and why a rational agent need not intend the means to his end
5. Toward the essence of nonconsequentialist constraints on harming : modality, productive purity, and the greater good working itself out
6. Harming people in Peter Unger’s Living high and letting die
II. Rights
7. Moral status         
8. Rights beyond interests     
9. Conflicts of rights : a typology
III. Responsibilities
10. Responsibility and collaboration
11. Does distance matter morally to the duty to rescue?
12. The new problem of distance in morality          
IV. Others’ ethics
13. Peter Singer’s ethical theory
14. Moral intuitions, cognitive psychology, and the harming/not-aiding distinction
15. Harms, losses, and evils in Gert’s moral theory
16. Owing, justifying, and rejecting
Each week one of us will give a brief summary of a chapter of her book and provide some points for discussion. The post will then be open for discussion, and we welcome comments on any aspects of the chapter.


  1. 1. Posted by Guy Kahane | May 28, 2007 2:42 pm

    Those interested in Kamm’s work, and of course those who will participate in or follow the reading group, will probably find Jeffrey Brand-Ballard’s NDPR review of Intricate Ethics useful:

  2. 2. Posted by John Oberdiek | June 26, 2007 6:24 pm

    I look forward to checking in on this reading group and to reading the posts on Ethics Etc generally. Those of you who will be reading Intricate Ethics will be interested to know that the Rutgers Institute for Law and Philosophy, based at the Rutgers School of Law-Camden, will be hosting a two-day conference on the book on Friday, February 22nd and Saturday, February 23rd 2008. Frances Kamm will attend, and Shelly Kagan, Jeff McMahan, Gideon Rosen, T. M. Scanlon, and Seana Shiffrin will present papers. Registration details and other information will be available when we make the more official announcement of the symposium at the end of the summer. We hope to see many of you!

  3. 3. Posted by S. Matthew Liao | June 27, 2007 1:26 am

    John, That looks like a fantastic conference! Do keep us posted.

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