Harming as Wronging

Joel Feinberg

in The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others

Published in print August 1987 | ISBN: 9780195046649
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868728 | DOI:
Harming as Wronging

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Considers features of harmful acts arising from their character as violations of others’ rights. A person violates another's rights when she acts in a manner that is defective and morally indefensible, given both the risks it generates for the other person and the setbacks it causes to that person's interests either intentionally or negligently. Harming that meets these conditions is morally indefensible, as it lacks an adequate justification or excuse. The consent of the person harmed provides some justification for harming, according to the classical Volenti maxim that “to one who has consented, no wrong is done.” Feinberg goes on to examine the concept of a victim, which he defines as one who suffers any kind of unconsented‐to harm to one's interests. Feinberg concludes by considering the causation of harming.

Keywords: causation; consent; justification; morally indefensible; rights; victim; violations; Volenti maxim

Chapter.  9480 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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