Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):825-839 (2019)

Jens Johansson
Uppsala University
In a typical non-identity case, the agent performs an action that causes someone to exist at a low but positive level of well-being, although an alternative was to create another, much happier person instead. There seem to be strong moral reasons against what the agent does, but it is difficult to explain how this can be so. In particular, it seems that on a simple counterfactual account of harm, the action does not harm anyone, as it does not make anyone worse off than he or she would have been had the action not been performed. In this paper, I criticize the response that the action nevertheless harms the actual child, as well as the response that it makes the counterfactual child worse off. I argue that the following alternative view deserves attention: a compound of the actual and the counterfactual child is made worse off by the action.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-018-9933-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,231
External links

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

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating?Elizabeth Harman - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
The Preemption Problem.Jens Johansson & Olle Risberg - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):351-365.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Subject of Harm in Non-Identity Cases.Jens Johansson - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):1-15.
Death's Distinctive Harm.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):317-30.
The Indeterminacy of Loss.Mark Greene - 2008 - Ethics 118 (4):633-658.
Plural Harm.Neil Feit - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):361-388.
On the Identity Requirement of Atb Extraction.Alan Munn - 1999 - Natural Language Semantics 7 (4):421-425.
Rethinking Procreation: Why It Matters Why We Have Children.Mianna Lotz - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (2):105-121.
Harm and the Boundaries of Disease.Patrick McGivern & Sarah Sorial - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):467-484.


Added to PP index

Total views
18 ( #590,576 of 2,455,402 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #303,137 of 2,455,402 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes