David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (2):137-158 (1983)
In recent years, science and the courts have created new options whereby prospective parents can avoid the birth of a diseased or defective child. We can ascertain the likelihood that certain genetic diseases will be transmitted; We can detect a number of fetal abnormalities in utero ; we have legal permission to abort for any reason, including fetal abnormality. With these new options come new questions concerning our moral obligations toward our prospective offspring. An important conceptual question concerns whether such congenital diseases and defects constitute harms to the children who bear them. In this essay I shall examine the prevailing analysis of harm, the "Otherwise-Condition" approach, which denies that we can predicate harm of such abnormalities. I will show first that this analysis is inadequate even to account for certain very ordinary, clear cases of harm. It thus is suspect regardless of its stance on congenital anomalies. Second, it sets up an ill-considered connection between harm and causation – a connection which renders its harm ascriptions slippery, arbitrary. Finally, this analysis cannot be squared with certain of our deeply entrenched moral intuitions. By thus rebutting this most influential definition of harm, I will have opened the door to the possibility of ascribing harm for congenital disease and defect. Keywords: Harm, Otherwise-condition, Congenital anomaly * I would like to thank A. D. Woozley, Derek Parfit, Daniel Devereux, and the editors and reviewers of the JMP for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nils Holtug (2002). The Harm Principle. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (4):357-389.
Samuel C. Rickless (2011). The Moral Status of Enabling Harm. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.
Joel Feinberg (1984). The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law. Oxford University Press.
Shlomit Harrosh (2011). Identifying Harms. Bioethics 26 (9):493-498.
Steven Luper (2007). Mortal Harm. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):239–251.
Carson Strong (2005). Harming by Conceiving: A Review of Misconceptions and a New Analysis. [REVIEW] Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):491 – 516.
Evan Fox-Decent (1998). Why Self-Ownership is Prescriptively Impotent. Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (4):489-506.
Janet Malek (2006). Identity, Harm, and the Ethics of Reproductive Technology. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (1):83 – 95.
E. Haavi Morreim (1988). The Concept of Harm Reconceived: A Different Look at Wrongful Life. [REVIEW] Law and Philosophy 7 (1):3 - 33.
Added to index2010-08-14
Total downloads9 ( #224,183 of 1,696,587 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #345,974 of 1,696,587 )
How can I increase my downloads?