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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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Moral Vulnerability and the Task of Reparations

Moral Vulnerability and the Task of Reparations

(p.110) 4 Moral Vulnerability and the Task of Reparations

Margaret Urban Walker

Oxford University Press

This essay seeks to understand the domain and demands of reparative justice in terms of moral vulnerability. Significant harms raise the question of whether victims stand in truly reciprocal practices of accountability; if they do, they enjoy the power of calling others to account as well as bearing the liability of being accountable to others. In the aftermath of harms, victims’ moral vulnerability is tested: they may be exposed to the insult and injury of discovering that they do not enjoy the moral standing of holding others accountable. While the occasion of reparative justice is significant wrongs and wrongful harms and losses, this essay argues that the aim of reparative practices is not only or even primarily to redress those harms and losses, but to address the moral vulnerability of victims by affirming their status in accountability relations.

Keywords:   vulnerability, moral vulnerability, reparative justice, reciprocity, accountability

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