Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics  book cover
1st Edition

Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics

Edited By

Christine Straehle

ISBN 9780367875756
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

Vulnerability is an important concern of moral philosophy, political philosophy and many discussions in applied ethics. Yet the concept itself—what it is and why it is morally salient—is under-theorized. Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics brings together theorists working on conceptualizing vulnerability as an action-guiding principle in these discussions, as well as bioethicists, medical ethicists and public policy theorists working on instances of vulnerability in specific contexts. This volume offers new and innovative work by Joel Anderson, Carla Bagnoli, Samia Hurst, Catriona Mackenzie and Christine Straehle, who together provide a discussion of the concept of vulnerability from the perspective of individual autonomy. The exchanges among authors will help show the heuristic value of vulnerability that is being developed in the context of liberal political theory and moral philosophy. The book also illustrates how applying the concept of vulnerability to some of the most pressing moral questions in applied ethics can assist us in making moral judgments. This highly innovative and interdisciplinary approach will help those grappling with questions of vulnerability in medical ethics—both theorists and practitioners—by providing principles along which to decide hard cases.

Table of Contents


Christine Straehle

Part I: Vulnerability, Individual Agency and Social Justice

Chapter 1: Vulnerability and the Incompleteness of Practical Reason

Carla Bagnoli

Chapter 2: Vulnerability, Autonomy and Sense of Self

Christine Straehle

Chapter 3: Precarious Autonomy, Hazardous Circumstances, and the Injustice of Imposed Infeasibility

Joel Anderson

Chapter 4: Ordinary Vulnerability, Institutional Androgyny and Gender Justice

Naïma Hamrouni

Chapter 5: Vulnerability, Needs and Moral Obligation

Catriona Mackenzie

Chapter 6: Vulnerability, Health Care and Need

Vida Panitch and Chad Horne

Part II: Vulnerability in Applied Ethics

Chapter 7: The Most Vulnerable Patients in Health Care

Samia Hurst

Chapter 8: Vulnerability in Genetic Counseling and the Ground of Nondirectiveness‬

Michael Deem

Chapter 9: On the Relationship between Vulnerability and Trust

Claudia Wiesemann

Chapter 10: Doctrinal Vulnerability and the Authority of Children’s Voices

Colin Macleod

Chapter 11: Children’s Vulnerability in Clinical Trials

Bobbie Farsides

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Christine Straehle is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa, Canada


"This volume is the best book on vulnerability since Robert Goodin’s now 30-year-old volume. Its applications of the concept of vulnerability in the areas of research on children, the care of the elderly and prospective parents are very useful and innovatively conceived."Rosemarie Tong, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA