Risk, Harm, and Responsibility

Stephen R. Perry

in The Philosophical Foundations of Tort Law

Published in print July 1997 | ISBN: 9780198265795
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682971 | DOI:
Risk, Harm, and Responsibility

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Since risk is one of the central concepts in modern tort law, any theory of torts rooted in notions of interpersonal justice and individual responsibility must get to grips with the questions presented in this chapter. With a view to contributing to a responsibility-based theory of tort law, this theory advances and defends those questions. It offers a general analysis of risk that draws on work in the philosophy of probability and suggests that there are two main conceptions of risk. The chapter also considers the thesis that subjecting another person to risk is a form of harm distinct from any physical harm the person might suffer. This thesis is most plausible if it is understood as presupposing the objective conception of risk. Even understood in that way, however, the thesis cannot be accepted; risk does not, it argues, constitute harm in itself. The chapter then considers moral responsibility for physical damage.

Keywords: risk; tort law; justice; responsibility; philosophy; probability; harm

Chapter.  13060 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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