Objective Reason and Respect for Persons

The Monist 62 (4):457-469 (1979)
Abstract
Objectivity in evaluation can be understood either in terms of satisfaction of certain formal criteria or in terms of correspondence to facts of a certain kind. Morality includes metaphysical claims which distinguish arbitrary wants from rational ends, but the weakness of the interpretation of such claims within formalist liberal views results in the collapse of that distinction and in mistaking moral ignorance for moral freedom. Only by showing that respect for persons is justified by the metaphysics of human nature - by the fact of human equality - can claims of moral objectivity be defended. For that defense one must look to the socialist tradition.
Keywords Ethics  Rationality  Objectivity  Respect
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