Historic injustice, group membership and harm to individuals: Defending claims for historic justice from the non-identity problem
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice 25:229 (2009)
Some claim slavery did not harm the descendants of slaves since, without slavery, its descendants would never have been born and a life worth living, even one including the subsequent harms of past slavery, is preferable to never having been born at all. This creates a classic puzzle known as the non-identity argument, applied to reject the validity of claims for historic justice based on harms to descendants of victims of historic wrongs: since descendants are never harmed by historic wrongs, they have no right to rectification. This conclusion is unintuitive. This article explains the nature of harm involved in historic injustice, overcoming the hurdle the non-identity argument poses to historic justice claims. Historic injustice and the harms it generates are best understood as group harms. Claims for historic justice can be grounded in harms currently living individuals suffer as a function of the harms their group or community currently suffers as a consequence of historic wrongs. One form of harm, constitutive harm, differs from the aggregative account of harm assumed by the non-identity argument and is immune to it. It is the type of harm people suffer as members of certain historically wronged groups and communities. Therefore, the constitutive harm people suffer in cases of historic injustice may serve as a basis for justifying claims for historic justice.
|Keywords||Historic justice non-identity problem reparations harm|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Edmund F. Byrne (2012). Appropriating Resources: Land Claims, Law, and Illicit Business. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 106 (4):453-466.
Similar books and articles
Shlomit Harrosh (2011). Identifying Harms. Bioethics 26 (9):493-498.
Daniel Butt (2009). Rectifying International Injustice: Principles of Compensation and Restitution Between Nations. Oxford University Press.
Ori J. Herstein (2009). The Identity and (Legal) Rights of Future Generations. The George Washington Law Review 77:1173.
Daniel Butt (2006). Nations, Overlapping Generations and Historic Injustice. American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (4):357-367.
Daniel Butt (2009). ‘Victors’ Justice’? Historic Injustice and the Legitimacy of International Law. In Lukas H. Meyer (ed.), Legitimacy, Justice and Public International Law. Cambridge Univeristy Press. 163.
Rudolf Schüssler (2011). Climate Justice: A Question of Historic Responsibility? Journal of Global Ethics 7 (3):261-278.
Makoto Usami (2011). The Non-Identity Problem, Collective Rights, and the Threshold Conception of Harm. Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Social Engineering Discussion Paper (2011-04):1-17.
Evan Fox-Decent (1998). Why Self-Ownership is Prescriptively Impotent. Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (4):489-506.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads27 ( #92,851 of 1,696,633 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #250,163 of 1,696,633 )
How can I increase my downloads?