Frances Kamm



Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, Harvard University (USA)

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
June 2013

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Harm to Others«

Project outline:
My project concerns whether and when it is morally permissible to harm some people in order to save others. One part of the project is an expansion of, and response to commentaries on, my 2013 Tanner Lectures in Human Values. These concern whether the permission to harm some varies depending on whether the alternative to doing this is one’s harming more people rather than merely letting more people die. The other parts of my project are (i) a discussion of whether and when it is permissible to torture someone in order to save his own potential victims from death and (ii) the role of proportionality in the decision to engage in harmful actions. (Frances Kamm)

Funding of the stay:
»Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«

Scholarly profile of Frances Kamm


Main areas of research:
Ethics, Bioethics, Philosophy of Law, Political Philosophy

Selected publications:
  1. The Trolley Problem Mysteries, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  2. Bioethical Prescriptions. To Create, End, Choose, and Improve Lives, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  3. The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  4. Ethics for Enemies: Terror, Torture, and War. The 2008 Uehiro Lectures, Oxford University. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, 2011.
  5. Intricate Ethics: Rights, Responsibilities, and Permissible Harm. Ethics Series, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  6. Morality, Mortality. Volume I: Death and Whom to Save From It, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993; Volume II: Rights, Duties and Status, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  7. Creation and Abortion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Further academic activities:
Fances Kamm is a member of the editorial boards of Philosophy & Public Affairs, Legal Theory, Bioethics, and Utilitas, and was a consultant on ethics to the World Health Organization. In 2011, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.