Benefiting from Wrongdoing

In Kasper Lippert‐Rasmussen, Kimberley Brownlee & David Coady (eds.), A Companion to Applied Philosophy. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 411–423 (2016)
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This chapter investigates the moral status of agents who innocently benefit from the wrongdoing of others. We commonly think that perpetrators should not benefit from their wrongdoings. But sometimes wrongdoings benefit third parties. Clearest examples are historical wrongdoings, such as colonialism and slavery, which have long lasting effects to this very day, benefitting some while harming others. Recent attempts to identify those who should address such wrongdoings suggest that their beneficiaries, even though they have done not taken part in the original wrongdoing, have duties to relinquish the wrongful benefit and/or to compensate the victim. If correct, this view has important practical implications for identifying who should address pressing moral challenges such as climate change, reparations for slavery and global poverty. The chapter explores the normative underpinnings of the ‘principle of wrongful benefits’, and some of the theoretical and practical challenges to it.



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References found in this work

World Poverty and Human Rights.Thomas Pogge - 2002 - Ethics and International Affairs 19 (1):1-7.
Preferential hiring.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1973 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (4):364-384.
Scepticism about Beneficiary Pays: A Critique.Christian Barry & Robert Kirby - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (4):285-300.
Ancient wrongs and modern rights.George Sher - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (1):3-17.

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