Volume 35, 2019
Health, Well-Being, and Society
Transmuted Goods and the Legacy of the Atrocity Paradigm
This paper responds to a recent challenge posed to Claudia Card’s atrocity paradigm by “transmuted goods,” or, goods which positively transmute victims of atrocity in ways which are difficult for the paradigm to explain. Whereas the legacy of Card’s atrocity paradigm will surely be its demand that we hold others culpable for allowing and perpetuating systems of harm which threaten our ability to flourish, this paper suggests a way for the paradigm to incorporate transmuted goods in a manner that strengthens the paradigm’s overall goal of holding people responsible for perpetuating atrocious harms. To that end, I will articulate the systematicity and transmutativity conditions of an “atrocity,” will demonstrate how “transmuted goods” can threaten the transmutativity condition of an atrocity (and, so, the efficacy of the atrocity paradigm as an ethical theory), and will conclude by suggesting a potential integration of transmuted goods into the atrocity paradigm to salvage the transmutativity condition for the paradigm.