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A Difficulty Concerning Compensation *

A Difficulty Concerning Compensation * We sometimes harm people legitimately, by standing in front of them in the queue at the cinema and buying the last available ticket, for instance, or by acting in self-defense. If we harm them illegitimately, however, we ostensibly have a moral obligation to compensate them for the harm done. And the more we harm them, the greater the compensation that, prima facie, we need to offer. But if the harm increases further, at some point we will need to offer less compensation. Yet more harm, and it is quite likely that no compensation at all will be morally expected. In such situations, the greater the harm, the better off we will be, morally, in one important respect. This is morally absurd but, I claim, true, and it does not appear to have received significant philosophical attention. I explore the issue. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

A Difficulty Concerning Compensation *

Journal of Moral Philosophy , Volume 10 (3): 329 – Jan 1, 2013

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2013 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
DOI
10.1163/17455243-4681021
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We sometimes harm people legitimately, by standing in front of them in the queue at the cinema and buying the last available ticket, for instance, or by acting in self-defense. If we harm them illegitimately, however, we ostensibly have a moral obligation to compensate them for the harm done. And the more we harm them, the greater the compensation that, prima facie, we need to offer. But if the harm increases further, at some point we will need to offer less compensation. Yet more harm, and it is quite likely that no compensation at all will be morally expected. In such situations, the greater the harm, the better off we will be, morally, in one important respect. This is morally absurd but, I claim, true, and it does not appear to have received significant philosophical attention. I explore the issue.

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2013

Keywords: compensation; moral paradox; harm; forgiveness; existential paradox; Teflon immorality

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