Document Detail

Rights, indirect harms and the non-identity problem.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18522589     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The non-identity problem is the problem of grounding moral wrongdoing in cases in which an action affects who will exist in the future. Consider a woman who intentionally conceives while on medication that is harmful for a fetus. If the resulting child is disabled as a result of the medication, what makes the woman's action morally wrong? I argue that an explanation in terms of harmful rights violations fails, and I focus on Peter Markie's recent rights-based defense. Markie's analysis rests on the notion of an indirect harm, and I show that the calculation of an indirect harm relies on an improper baseline for the determination of whether or not an action adversely affects a patient's interests. I also defend an impersonal duty-based analysis of the wrongdoing in non-identity cases against an objection by Markie. I close by arguing that the rights-based analysis is insensitive to context and that context is morally relevant in the determination of the moral valence of actions in cases of non-identity. This failure provides a pro tanto reason to favor an impersonal duty-based analysis of the wrongdoing in non-identity cases.
Justin Patrick McBrayer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Bioethics     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1467-8519     ISO Abbreviation:  Bioethics     Publication Date:  2008 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-06-04     Completed Date:  2008-06-24     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704792     Medline TA:  Bioethics     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  299-306     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65203, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Abnormalities, Drug-Induced*
Ethical Analysis*
Fetus / drug effects
Human Rights*
Social Responsibility*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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