Journal of Value Inquiry 6 (2):144-157 (1972)
|Abstract||[This essay originally appeared in the Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 6 (1972), pp. 144-157.] I In recent years the concept of a point of view has come to play an important role in philosophical ethics. Writers such as Kurt Baier, William Frankena, Paul Taylor, Kai Nielsen, G.J. Warnock, and J.O. Urmson1 have all urged a view of the nature of morality according to which, in making a moral judgment, what a person is doing is expressing a preference from within a certain point of view. Different accounts are given of just how “the moral point of view” is to be distinguished from other points of view,2 but most of these writers – Baier, Frankena, Nielsen, and Warnock – say that it is distinguished at least in part by the fact that anyone taking this point of view is thereby committing himself to the impartial promotion of “the interests of everyone alike,” where no one’s interests (including those of the agent himself) are given more importance than anyone else’s interests. On this view, moral principles are easily and naturally contrasted with principles of prudence; the egoist, by definition, has no moral principles since he does not care about promoting “the interests of everyone alike.” As an egoist, he is only..|
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