Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Andrew Jason Cohen
Andrew I. Cohen
According to the dominant account of harming, to harm an agent is to cause her to occupy a harmed state. Matthew Hanser rejects this “state-based” account, arguing that each version of it faces counterexamples. Instead, Hanser argues, to harm an agent is to cause her to suffer harm, where suffering harm is undergoing an event: in particular, it is losing or being prevented from receiving a basic good. In this thesis, I argue that this “event-based” account is, at best, a version of the state-based account. The identity of any event as the suffering of a harm, I argue, derives from the fact that it causes the agent to occupy a harmed state. I then defend the “counterfactual comparative” version of the state-based account against three prominent objections. The intended upshot of my arguments is that the state-based account of harming is superior to its event-based counterpart.
Lee, Joseph, "In Defense of the State-Based Account of Harming." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.