Some notion of vulnerability is generally assumed in our everyday discussions of ethical dilemmas as well as by theoretical and philosophical treatment of questions of ethical and political relevance. Vulnerability is presumed to be a common feature of the human condition, a basic susceptibility that all possess. As such, an idea of vulnerability underlies our notions of harm and well-being, interests and rights, equality and inequality, and duties and obligations. The central concepts of ethical, political, and social theories rest upon the simple fact that we can be affected by those others with whom we share our world, that is, that we are vulnerable to one another and to the hazards of our environment. To put the point simply, it is only because one is vulnerable that one can be harmed or benefited. The institution of rights, for instance, protects one’s interests insofar as one is a vulnerable party and the deprivation of these rights heightens one’s vulnerability. Correspondingly, the pursuit of an ideal like equality can remedy injustice, which can be understood as the unjust distribution of vulnerability. Likewise, positive and negative ethical obligations, which demand that we refrain from harming others and act so as to aid them, derive from the basic fact that we are vulnerable creatures. Even Kant’s justification for the duty of beneficence makes reference to the simple truth that we need one another and our mode of existence is such that we cannot but call upon others to offer support. It is apparent, therefore, that normative projects typically involve minimizing vulnerability and protecting those who are vulnerable through the establishment of legal rights and political institutions, the performance of ethical obligations, and the pursuit of social and ethical ideals.