The Value of Passive Contributions

David S. Wendler

in The Ethics of Pediatric Research

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730087
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776689 | DOI:
The Value of Passive Contributions

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Chapter 7 focuses on the nature of passive contributions and the extent to which they can have implications for our interests. Contrary to most accounts, it is argued that even purely passive contributions can promote or thwart our overall interests on the grounds that it is good for us to be connected to and contribute to things of value. This chapter considers the normative asymmetry objection which grants that passive contributions can thwart our interests when they connect us to ends or relationships that have negative value. However, passive contributions do not promote our interests when they connect us to ends or relationships that have positive value. This proposed asymmetry is rejected based on analysis of specific examples which illustrate the impact of passive contributions on our interests. This possibility is then explored with respect to children by considering contributions they might make outside the research setting. The chapter ends by evaluating whether the possibility of furthering a child's interests by enrolling them in research provides sufficient grounds for others to decide on the child's behalf. It is argued that while advancing one's own interests typically is not an appropriate grounds on which to choose to contribute to a valuable project, promoting the interests of one's children can be an appropriate reason to have them contribute to a valuable project.

Keywords: asymmetry; passive contributions; harms; causal connections; propaganda; helping others

Chapter.  27195 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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