Exploitation With and Without Harm

Joel Feinberg

in The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 4: Harmless Wrongdoing

Published in print August 1990 | ISBN: 9780195064704
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833207 | DOI:
Exploitation With and Without Harm

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In this chapter, Feinberg considers the concept of exploitation (which he defines as a way of using someone for one's own ends), distinguishing between exploitation that causes harm and exploitation that does not. On rare occasions, exploitation of a morally unsavory nature can occur although it is free‐floating and thus does not harm the interests of the exploitee. If this nongrievance exploitation were a moral evil, then the liberty‐limiting principle legitimizing its prohibition (the exploitative principle) would be a variety of strict legal moralism. Feinberg assesses this principle in Ch. 32. Here, he considers the key elements of exploitation: (1) the ways that other people can be used, (2) the kinds of potentially exploitable traits and circumstances, and (3) the redistribution of gains and loses.

Keywords: exploitation; exploitative principle; harm; interests; moralism; redistribution

Chapter.  17047 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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