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Institutional Evils, Culpable Complicity, and Duties to Engage in Moral Repair

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Apology is arguably the central act of the reparative work required after wrongdoing. The analysis by Claudia Card (1940–2015) of complicity in collectively perpetrated evils moves one to ask whether apology ought to be requested of persons culpably complicit in institutional evils. To better appreciate the benefits of and barriers to apologies offered by culpably complicit wrongdoers, this article examines doctors’ complicity in a practice that meets Card's definition of an evil, namely, the non‐medically necessary, nonconsensual “normalizing” interventions performed on babies born with intersex anatomies. It argues that in this instance the complicity of doctors is culpable on Card's terms, and that their culpable complicity grounds rightful demands for them to apologize.
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Keywords: Claudia Card; apology; blame; complicity; evils; intersex; moral repair

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-04-01

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