Ivana Zagorac

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In this paper, I intend to explore the apparent difficulty in communication between two understandings of vulnerability: one that claims that vulnerability is a part of conditio humana, a feature closely connected to the facts of (human) embodiment and mortality, and the other which argues for the exclusivity of vulnerability and wishes to limit it to only those who are “more than ordinarily vulnerable”. The first part of the paper outlines the main sources of disagreement between these two perspectives as may be read from scholarly literature and relevant ethics documents. The thesis of this text is that the conflict between the two perspectives can be resolved if the concept of vulnerability is understood in its complexity rather than as reduced to its negative aspects. In order to set grounds for the thesis, the second part of the paper examines what would constitute the concept of invulnerability. In the last part, three attempts at resolution of the conflict are examined. That which advocates for the redefinition of the conventional understanding of vulnerability is favored.

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