Harm

Harm is a moral and legal concept.

Bernard Gert construes harms as any of the following:

  • pain
  • death
  • disability
  • loss of ability or freedom
  • loss of pleasure

Joel Feinberg gives an account of harms as setbacks to interests. He distinguishes welfare interests from ulterior interests. Hence on his view there are two kinds of harms.

Welfare interests are

interests in the continuance for a foreseeable interval of one's life, and the interests in one's own physical health and vigor, the integrity and normal functioning of one's body, the absence of absorbing pain and suffering or grotesque disfigurement, minimal intellectual acuity, emotional stability, the absence of groundless anxieties and resentments, the capacity to engage normally in social intercourse and to enjoy and maintain friendships, at least minimal income and financial security, a tolerable social and physical environment, and a certain amount of freedom from interference and coercion.

Ulterior interests are "a person's more ultimate goals and aspirations," such as "producing good novels or works of art, solving a crucial scientific problem, achieving high political office, successfully raising a family . . .".

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Famous quotes containing the word harm:

    What harm cause not those huge draughts or pictures which wanton youth with chalk or coals draw in each passage, wall or stairs of our great houses, whence a cruel contempt of our natural store is bred in them?
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    There is no truer cause of unhappiness amongst men than, where naturally expecting charity and benevolence, they receive harm and vexation.
    François Rabelais (1494–1553)

    Fall on the ground, O great Wetness, O Mother, No harm on thy body!
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