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abstract

Suppose two people are about to drown. We are in a position to save only one, so the other will have to die. One of the two has just culpably killed an innocent person, but has no intention of killing anybody else and there is no reason to expect that he will. Everything else being equal, should we give them an equal chance of being saved by flipping a coin? In this paper I argue that we should not. I argue that the implications of a person's moral culpability for (recent or prospective) harm to a particular victim should transfer to other conflict situations in which the wrongdoer might find him or herself. This requires establishing the extent to which a person's contributing to harming another person — and his moral culpability for that harm — impinges on our decision making in situations where it is possible only to assist either the wrongdoer or some other person that is not his victim.