Exploitation as Wrongful Use: Beyond Taking Advantage of Vulnerabilities [Book Review]

Acta Analytica 25 (3):329-346 (2010)
The notion that exploitation consists in taking wrongful advantage of another’s vulnerability is widespread in the philosophical literature. Considering the popularity of this view, it is disappointing to find that very few authors attempt to provide substantive accounts of characteristics they consider relevant vulnerabilities (i.e., those pertinent to exploitation), as well as of relevant features which make taking advantage of those vulnerabilities wrongful. In this paper, I analyze the few approaches (notably those presented by Ruth Sample and Robert Goodin) that in fact provide such accounts, and I examine whether and how they pertain to exploitation in general, as well as to exploitation in more personal/intimate relationships. I conclude that these vulnerability-based accounts of exploitation are either too vague or too restrictive, since they tend to leave out many instances of exploitation (especially those within personal and intimate relationships), and are as such inadequate
Keywords Exploitation  Wrongful use  Vulnerabilities  Personal relationships  Basic needs  Capabilities
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-010-0089-6
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (2009). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.
Alan Wertheimer (1996). Exploitation. Princeton University Press.
Michael H. Kottow (2005). Vulnerability: What Kind of Principle is It? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7 (3):281-287.

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