Partiality Based on Relational Responsibilities: Another Approach to Global Ethics

Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (3):303-316 (2012)
Abstract
Universalistic claims about the nature of justice are presumed to require larger commitments from a global perspective than partialist claims. This essay departs from standard partialist accounts by anchoring partialist claims in a different account of the nature of responsibility. In contrast to substantive responsibility, which is akin to an obligation and derived from principles, relational responsibilities grow out of relationships and their complex intertwining. While such accounts of responsibility are less clear cut, they will prove in the long run to be more valuable in thinking about global ethics. I illustrate this point by considering the moral issue surrounding abandoned relationships. The approach offered here?partiality that rests upon relational responsibilities?makes the responsibilities owed by those in higher income countries towards lower income countries much richer and more complex than is usually presumed
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