The concept of harm reconceived: A different look at wrongful life [Book Review]

Law and Philosophy 7 (1):3 - 33 (1988)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In wrongful life litigation a congenitally impaired child brings suit against those, usually physicians, whose negligence caused him to be born into his suffering existence. A key conceptual question is whether we can predicate harm in such cases. While a few courts have permitted it, many courts deny that we can, and thus have refused these children standing to sue. In this article the author examines the wrongful life cases and literature enroute to a broader consideration of harm. This literature, and philosophical discussions of harm generally, rely on a definition which ascribes harm by comparing an individual's current condition with that in which he would otherwise have been, but for the allegedly harmful event. The author shows this definition to be conceptually and morally flawed. A superior general definition is offered which, when then applied to wrongful life cases, shows that we can easily ascribe harm in these cases and can find clear potential for tort liability.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 84,179

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The moral limits of the criminal law.Joel Feinberg - 1984 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The ascription of rights in wrongful life suits.Nancy S. Jecker - 1987 - Law and Philosophy 6 (2):149-165.
What is wrong with 'wrongful life' cases?Barry M. Loewer - 1985 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 10 (2):127-146.
Rethinking Procreation: Why it Matters Why We Have Children.Mianna Lotz - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (2):105-121.
Wrongful Life, Wrongful Disability, and the Argument against Cloning.David K. Chan - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (9999):257-272.
When Is Birth Unfair to the Child?Bonnie Steinbock & Ron McClamrock - 1994 - Hastings Center Report 24 (6):15-21.
Conception and the concept of harm.E. Haavi Morreim - 1983 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (2):137-158.
The Moral Status of Enabling Harm.Samuel C. Rickless - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.


Added to PP

67 (#198,975)

6 months
2 (#332,645)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Intergenerational justice.Lukas Meyer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Directed organ donation: Discrimination or autonomy?Guido Pennings - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):41–49.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The paradox of future individuals.Gregory S. Kavka - 1982 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (2):93-112.
Comments.Derek Parfit - 1986 - Ethics 96 (4):832-872.
Obligations to posterity.Thomas Schwartz - 1978 - In Richard I. Sikora & Brian M. Barry (eds.), Obligations to Future Generations. White Horse Press. pp. 3--3.

Add more references