1st Edition

Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics

Edited By Christine Straehle Copyright 2017
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    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


    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