Harm is a moral and legal concept.

Bernard Gert construes harms as any of the following:

  • pain
  • death
  • disability
  • loss of ability or freedom
  • loss of pleasure

Joel Feinberg gives an account of harms as setbacks to interests. He distinguishes welfare interests from ulterior interests. Hence on his view there are two kinds of harms.

Welfare interests are

interests in the continuance for a foreseeable interval of one's life, and the interests in one's own physical health and vigor, the integrity and normal functioning of one's body, the absence of absorbing pain and suffering or grotesque disfigurement, minimal intellectual acuity, emotional stability, the absence of groundless anxieties and resentments, the capacity to engage normally in social intercourse and to enjoy and maintain friendships, at least minimal income and financial security, a tolerable social and physical environment, and a certain amount of freedom from interference and coercion.

Ulterior interests are "a person's more ultimate goals and aspirations," such as "producing good novels or works of art, solving a crucial scientific problem, achieving high political office, successfully raising a family . . .".

Read more about Harm:  Sources

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... Limitations to freedom of speech may follow the "harm principle" or the "offense principle", for example in the case of pornography, or hate speech ... However, Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression "the only purpose for ... of preventing serious offense (as opposed to injury or harm) to persons other than the actor, and that it is probably a necessary means to that end." Hence Feinberg argues that ...
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Famous quotes containing the word harm:

    It is safer to do most men harm than to do them too much good.
    François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)

    When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine.
    Bible: Hebrew, Exodus 21:22.

    Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.
    Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)