Lecture on Harm – Ben Bradley

June 14, 2017

Ben Bradley (Syracuse University)

Lecture on Harm



14 June, 15:30-18:00, room 4, Fac Letras

Abstract: Injunctions against harming others can be found everywhere.  An obvious example is Mill’s “Harm Principle,” which “requires liberty… of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow: without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them.” (Mill 1859: 265). Principles like Mill’s suggest that there is something especially important about harm, such that we have strong, perhaps overriding reasons both to avoid harming people and to prevent harm from coming to people. However, there are significant disagreements about what counts as a harm.  So it is incumbent on philosophers to say what harm is. In this lecture, I survey the leading analyses of ‘harm’ – such as, among others, the views defended by Thomson, Norcross and Northcott – and discuss the main problems they face.