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The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others$
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Joel Feinberg

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780195046649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195046641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

Harms as Setbacks to Interest

Harms as Setbacks to Interest

(p.31) 1 Harms as Setbacks to Interest
The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others

Joel Feinberg

Oxford University Press

According to Feinberg, we must distinguish between a nonnormative notion of harm as a setback to interests and a normative notion of harm as a wrong. The harm captured in the harm principle combines both these interpretations: it refers to setbacks to others’ interests that are also wrongs. Interests take one of two forms: welfare interests, which are minimal, and nonultimate interests, or ulterior interests, which are interests related to one's personal projects and goals. Feinberg identifies three ways in which someone may impair one's network of interests: (1) she may modify circumstances to make it difficult for one to satisfy competing interests; (2) she may reduce the degree to which prudential interests are protectively diversified; or (3) she may directly impair one's welfare interests to make it difficult for one to pursue one's ulterior interests. Noting the link between wants, dislikes, and interests, Feinberg argues both that one's interests are not always compatible with one's wants and that one's dislikes (including most hurts and offenses) are not always antithetical to one's interests.

Keywords:   hurts, interests, nonnormative, normative, offenses, prudential interests, ulterior interests, wants, welfare interests, wrong

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