David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 17 (8):885-893 (1998)
In this paper I examine the most common objection to strict product liability: that it is unfair to manufacturers. Critics have maintained that it is unfair because it allows manufacturers to be held liable even when they have not been negligent, and are not morally blameworthy or at fault. In response to this objection, I argue 1) that there are in fact cases in which it is at least somewhat unfair to manufacturers to impose compensation requirements upon them in accordance with the strict product liability doctrine, but 2) that there is also a class of cases in which it is fair to manufacturers to hold them responsible for compensating injured product users, as strict product liability requires, even though they have not been negligent and are not morally blameworthy or at fault. My analysis of the fairness issue provides a basis for some concluding remarks about the defensibility of the strict product liability doctrine.
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