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VulnerabilityNew Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy$
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Catriona Mackenzie, Wendy Rogers, and Susan Dodds

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199316649.001.0001

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What Is Vulnerability, and Why Does It Matter for Moral Theory?

(p.1) Introduction

Catriona Mackenzie

Wendy Rogers

Susan Dodds

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   vulnerability, ethics, bioethics, feminist philosophy, social justice

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