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Harming as Causing Harm

Author(s): Harman, Elizabeth

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Abstract: This paper argues that non-identity actions are wrong because they cause harm to people. While non-identity actions also typically benefit people, failure to act would similarly benefit someone, so considerations of benefit are ineligible to justify the harm. However, in some non-identity cases, failure to act would not benefit anyone: cases where one is choosing whether to procreate at all. These are the hard non-identity cases. Not all “different-number” cases are hard. In some cases, we don’t know whether acting would result in more or fewer people; this paper argues that this epistemological factor makes acting in these cases wrong.
Publication Date: 31-Jul-2009
Citation: Harman, Elizabeth. "Harming as causing harm." In Harming future persons, pp. 137-154. Springer, Dordrecht, 2009.
DOI: doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-5697-0_7
Pages: 137 - 154
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Harming Future Persons Ethics, Genetics and the Nonidentity Problem
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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