What Is Vulnerability, and Why Does It Matter for Moral Theory?
The first section of this introduction identifies four questions that an ethics of vulnerability needs to address: What is vulnerability? Why does vulnerability give rise to moral obligations and duties of justice? Who bears primary responsibility for responding to vulnerability? And, how are our obligations to the vulnerable best fulfilled? It explains how these questions have been addressed in the recent literature on vulnerability in ethics, bioethics, and feminist philosophy, and articulates the central theoretical challenges for an ethics of vulnerability. In addressing the question ‘What is vulnerability?’, the introduction also proposes a distinctive taxonomy of different sources (inherent, situational and pathogenic) and states (dispositional and occurrent) of vulnerability. The second section of the introduction provides an overview of the structure of the volume and a précis of each essay.
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