The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 219–229 | Cite as

Sacrifices of Self are Prudential Harms: A Reply to Carbonell

  • Tatjana Višak


Vanessa Carbonell argues that sacrifices of self, unlike most other sacrifices, cannot be analyzed entirely in terms of wellbeing. For this reason, Carbonell considers sacrifices of self as posing a problem for the wellbeing theory of sacrifice and for discussions about the demandingness of morality. In this paper I take issue with Carbonell’s claim that sacrifices of self cannot be captured as prudential harms. First, I explain why Carbonell considers sacrifices of self particularly problematic. In order to determine whether some state of affairs is (or would be) harmful for someone, it is necessary to assume a particular account of welfare. In this paper, I assume the self-fulfillment account of welfare (Haybron 2008). I introduce this theory and show that it can account for the harm of sacrifices of self.


Vanessa Carbonell Identity Moral obligation Sacrifice Self-fulfillment Self-sacrifice Wellbeing 


Conflict of interest

There are no (potential) conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights

The paper is not based on research involving humans or animals.

Informed consent

There are no issues involving informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany
  2. 2.Mannheim UniversityMannheimGermany

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