Helen Frowe (2006/2010) contends that there is a substantial moral difference between killing and letting die, arguing that in Michael Tooley's infamous machine case it is morally wrong to flip a coin to determine who lives or dies. Here I argue that Frowe fails to show that killing and letting die are morally inequivalent. However, I believe that she has succeeded in showing that it is wrong to press the button in Tooley's case, where pressing the button will change who lives and dies. I argue that because killing and letting die are morally equivalent we have no reason to press the button in the machine case. Pressing the button in this case is morally wrong because there is no reason to do it; to press the button is to treat matters of life and death irreverently.
Simkulet, William, "Frowe's Machine Cases" (2015). Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Faculty Publications. 1.
This article first appeared in Filosofiska Notiser, Årgång 2, Nr. 2, September 2015, 93-104. www.filosofiskanotiser.com