When is Impartiality Morally Appropriate?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Brian Feltham & John Cottingham (eds.), Partiality and Impartiality: Morality, Special Relationships, and the Wider World. OUP Oxford (2010)
With respect to morality, the term ‘impartiality’ is used to refer to quite different things. My paper will focus on three: 1. Impartial application of good (first-order) moral rules 2. Impartial benevolence as the direct guide to decisions about what to do 3. Impartial assessment of (first-order) moral rules What are the relations among these three? Suppose there was just one good (first-order) moral rule, namely, that one should choose whatever one thinks will maximize aggregate good. If there were just this one moral rule, then impartial application of that one rule might be compatible with impartial benevolence as the direct guide to decisions about what to do. But now suppose there are other good moral rules, such as ones that prohibit certain kinds of act, ones that permit some degree of preferential concern for oneself, and ones that require some degree of preference for one’s friends and family in one’s decisions about how to allocate one’s time, attention, and other resources. If there are these other good rules, then at least sometimes impartially applying and complying with them will conflict with letting impartial benevolence dictate what to do. More importantly, we can reject impartial benevolence as the direct guide to decisions about what to do while endorsing impartial application of good (first-order) moral rules. Likewise, rejecting impartial benevolence as the direct guide to decisions about what to do does not entail rejecting impartial assessment of (first-order) moral rules. Section 1 of this paper argues that impartiality in the application of good moral rules is always appropriate. Section 2 argues that impartial benevolence as a direct guide to decisions about what to do is appropriate only sometimes. Section 3 argues that impartiality in the assessment of rules is or is not appropriate---depending on how plausible the impartially selected rules are.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Paul Hurley (2009). Beyond Consequentialism. Oxford University Press.
Brad Hooker (2005). Fairness. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):329 - 352.
Philippe Mongin (2001). The Impartial Observer Theorem of Social Ethics. Economics and Philosophy 17 (2):147-179.
Peter Jones (1998). Political Theory and Cultural Diversity. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (1):28-62.
Neera K. Badhwar (1996). Moral Agency, Commitment, and Impartiality. Social Philosophy and Policy 13 (01):1-.
Peter Coghlan (2005). The Prodigal and His Brother: Impartiality and the Equal Consideration of Interests. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (3):195-206.
Bernard Gert (1988). Morality: A New Justification of the Moral Rules. Oxford University Press.
Cecilia Wee (2003). Mencius, the Feminine Perspective and Impartiality. Asian Philosophy 13 (1):3 – 13.
Added to index2009-06-08
Total downloads78 ( #43,050 of 1,725,989 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,693 of 1,725,989 )
How can I increase my downloads?