David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Bioethics 26 (9):493-498 (2011)
Moral disagreements often revolve around the issue of harm to others. Identifying harms, however, is a contested enterprise. This paper provides a conceptual toolbox for identifying harms, and so possible wrongdoing, by drawing several distinctions. First, I distinguish between four modes of human vulnerability, forming four ways in which one can be in a harmed state. Second, I argue for the intrinsic disvalue of harm and so distinguish the presence of harm from the fact that it is instrumental to or constitutive of a valued act, practice or way of life. Finally, I distinguish between harm and wrongdoing, arguing that while harm is a normative concept requiring justification, not all harmed states are automatically unjustified. The advantage of this view is that it refocuses the moral debate on the normative issues involved while establishing a common basis to which both sides can agree: the presence of harm to others
|Keywords||genetic selection for deafness harm human vulnerability femal circumcision moral disagreement|
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Citations of this work BETA
James G. Quigley (2015). Moral Psychology and the Unity of Morality. Utilitas 27 (2):119-146.
Thomas Søbirk Petersen (2014). Being Worse Off: But in Comparison with What? On the Baseline Problem of Harm and the Harm Principle. Res Publica 20 (2):199-214.
Angela K. Martin & Bernard Baertschi (2012). In Favor of PGD: The Moral Duty to Avoid Harm Argument. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (4):12-13.
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