‘No Harm in Looking? Observation as Wrongdoing’ (co-authored with Jonathan Parry)
Prof. Helen Frowe (Stockholm University)

October 31, 2017, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Department of Philosophy, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Atrium 213, Old Arts, University of Melbourne
Royal Parade
Melbourne 3010


Holly Lawford-Smith
University of Melbourne

Topic areas


Consider Revenge:

Revenge: Adam posts intimate photographs of Brenda on a ‘revenge porn’ website without her consent. Craig visits the website to view these sorts of pictures, and sees the pictures of Brenda.

How should we evaluate the normative situation of Craig, who merely views the images? We defend the following thesis:

Observation as wrongdoing: Observation of another’s wrongdoing, or observation that enables another’s wrongdoing, can further wrong the victim of that wrongdoing. In virtue of this wronging, observers incur special obligations to bear costs (ex ante and/or ex post) for the sake of victims of primary wrongdoing

We defend four ways in which observation can constitute a form of wronging. Observation can be wrong insofar as it compounds a primary wrong. Observation can enable a primary wrongdoing. Observation can be understood as a distinctive form of benefittingfrom injustice. And, most straightforwardly, observation violates privacy.

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