This work has sought to develop a few interwoven lines of reasoning. By charting the ways a concept of vulnerability has been articulated and utilized in the context of ethics, I have sought to demonstrate its salience for normative endeavors while raising some questions about these accounts, beginning with a critique of what I have throughout called a reductively negative understanding of vulnerability. To be clear, not all ‘negative’ uses of the term vulnerability entail such an understanding; vulnerability is a condition of potential and as such can precipitate harm along with myriad other consequences. My aim has not been to reject this use of the term but to question its predominance and the way it is taken as the essence of what it is to be vulnerable. Rather, a reductively negative view of vulnerability is one that has the non-logical implication of avoidance and disavowal of vulnerability. This non-logical implication occurs when vulnerability is defined either expressly or implicitly as a negative, homogenous, and static state, the attribution of which is necessarily asymmetrical. Given this implicit understanding, many failures attend vulnerability, ranging from denials of one’s own vulnerability to the inability to perceive and respond to the vulnerability of others to the adoption of a posture of persecution intended to legitimate defensive actions. All of these failures presuppose a reductively negative understanding of vulnerability, reduce what is a shared condition to a negative property, and fragment a common vulnerability by divvying it up along lines of gender, race, socioeconomic class, ability, nationality, and other salient social differences. The reductive understanding of vulnerability is thus complicit in oppression and facilitates the persistence of inequality. These failures call for a critique of the norms and ideals that comprise their conditions of possibility: the pursuit of invulnerability, profound ignorance of vulnerability, and entrepreneurial subjectivity, all of which are mundane features of everyday life in the post-industrial, capitalist West and all of which perpetuate arrogance, oppression, and denials of responsibility.