In this paper, I start by describing two categories into which effort can be divided. The first category I call objective effort, which refers to the external factors associated with an action; the second I call subjective effort, which deals with the internal psychological or mental effort required to bring oneself to perform an action. I then track my intuitions about how objective effort and subjective effort are relevant to the moral evaluations of actions and agents, and further develop this descriptive account by explaining these intuitions normatively through the lenses of contractualism and virtue ethics. Having given my account of how effort plays a role in ethics, I show how understanding the role of effort can change the way we look at the distinction between doing harm and allowing harm. I do this by describing how actions and omissions can be understood through effort, giving my account of the distinction between doing harm and allowing harm, and then comparing my account with others’ accounts. Finally, I touch on the distinction between intending harm and foreseeing harm to show that thinking about effort is relevant not only to the particular example of the dialogue surrounding the distinction between doing harm and allowing harm, but also to other discussions as well.
Lee, Edward J., "Effort and Ethics" (2016). Philosophy Honors Papers. 1.