By any reasonable standard of assessment, it is clear that human beings lead lives of wildly varying quality. People who live in different societies or belong to different social classes often differ greatly in their life expectancy, material resources, political rights and personal freedoms, and levels of nutrition and health, as well as in their access to education and medical care and their vulnerability to violence and assault. At the extremes, at least, these differences are normally accompanied by great differences (...) in the range of options people have available to them, in their prospects of achieving their aims, and in their sense of satisfaction with their own lives. Whereas many people in many countries enjoy a high level of prosperity and material comfort, and have a reasonable chance of achieving a significant measure of personal fulfillment over the course of their lives, there are many others who can look forward to little more than a miserable life and an early death. Although great progress has been made in combating the worst forms of poverty in recent decades, there continue to be people who live in conditions of extreme deprivation and malnutrition; people whose lack of medical care leaves them defenseless against infection and disease; people who have never received a formal education, have no political.. (shrink)
This collection of essays by noted philosopher Samuel Scheffler combines discussion of abstract questions in moral and political theory with attention to the normative dimension of current social and political controversies. In addition to chapters on more abstract issues such as the nature of human valuing, the role of partiality in ethics, and the significance of the distinction between doing and allowing, the volume also includes essays on immigration, terrorism, toleration, political equality, and the normative significance of tradition. -/- Uniting (...) the essays is a shared preoccupation with questions about human value and values. The volume opens with an essay that considers the general question of what it is to value something - as opposed, say, to wanting it, wanting to want it, or thinking that it is valuable. Other essays explore particular values, such as equality, whose meaning and content are contested. Still others consider the tensions that arise, both within and among individuals, in consequence of the diversity of human values. One of the overarching aims of the book is to illuminate the different ways in which liberal political theory attempts to resolve conflicts of both of these kinds. (shrink)
Valuing -- Morality and reasonable partiality -- Doing and allowing -- The division of moral labour : egalitarian liberalism as moral pluralism -- Is the basic structure basic? -- Cosmopolitanism, justice, and institutions -- What is egalitarianism? -- Choice, circumstance, and the value of equality -- Is terrorism morally distinctive? -- Immigration and the significance of culture -- The normativity of tradition -- The good of toleration.
Many recent political philosophers have attempted to demonstrate that choice and responsibility can be incorporated into the framework of an egalitarian theory of distributive justice. This article argues, however, that the project of developing a responsibility-based conception of egalitarian justice is misconceived. The project represents an attempt to defuse conservative criticism of the welfare state and of egalitarian liberalism more generally. But by mimicking the conservative’s emphasis on choice and responsibility, advocates of responsibility-based egalitarianism unwittingly inherit the conservative’s unsustainable justificatory (...) ambitions, unattractive moralism, and questionable metaphysical commitments. More importantly, they misrepresent the nature of our concern with equality as a value. (shrink)
[Samuel Scheffler] Some egalitarian liberals have proposed a division of moral labour between social institutions and individual agents, but the division-of-labour metaphor has been understood in different ways. This paper aims to disentangle some of these different understandings, with an eye to clarifying the appeal of the egalitarian-liberal project and the challenges that it faces. The idea of a division of moral labour is best understood as the expression of a strategy for accommodating diverse values. It is not an (...) apology for economic self-interest or a device for justifying personal acquisitiveness. /// [Véronique Munoz-Dardé] Are there distinctively political values? Certain egalitarians seem to think that equality is one such value. Scheffler's contribution to the symposium seeks to articulate a division of moral labour between norms of personal morality and the principles of justice that regulate social institutions, and using this suggests that the egalitarian critique of Rawls can be deflected. In this paper, instead, I question the status of equality as an intrinsic value. I argue that an egalitarianism which focuses on the status of equality as valuable in itself embraces a theory of value with the worst elements of utilitarianism (in particular its consequentialism) while leaving behind any of the intuitive appeal that utilitarianism has. In its place I press that we need a political conception of egalitarianism which stresses the role we engage beyond those found in the norms of personal morality. (shrink)
This book, a collection of eleven essays by one of the most interesting moral philosophers currently writing, is written from a perspective that is at once sympathetic towards and critical of liberal political philosophy. The essays explore the capacity of liberal thought, and of the moral traditions on which it draws, to accommodate a variety of challenges posed by the changing circumstances of the modern world. The essays consider how, in an era of rapid globalization, when people's lives are structured (...) by social arrangements and institutions of ever increasing size, complexity, and scope, we can best conceive of the responsibilities of individual agents and the normative significance of people's diverse commitments and allegiances. The volume is linked by common themes including the responsibilities persons have in virtue of belonging to a community, the compatibility of such obligations with equality, the demands of distributive justice in general, and liberalism's relationship to liberty, community, and equality. (shrink)
In contemporary philosophy, substantive moral theories are typically classified as either consequentialist or deontological. Standard consequentialist theories insist, roughly, that agents must always act so as to produce the best available outcomes overall. Standard deontological theories, by contrast, maintain that there are some circumstances where one is permitted but not required to produce the best overall results, and still other circumstances in which one is positively forbidden to to do. Classical utilitarianism is the most familiar consequentialist view, but it is (...) widely regarded as an inadequate account of morality. Although Professor Scheffler agrees with this assessment, he also believes that consequentialism seems initially plausible, and that there is a persistent air of paradox surrounding typical deontological views. In this book, therefore, he undertakes to reconsider the rejection of consequentialism. He argues that it is possible to provide a rationale for the view that agents need not always produce the best possible overall outcomes, and this motivates one departure from consequentialism; but he shows that it is surprisingly difficult to provide a satisfactory rationale for the view that there are times when agents must not produce the best possible overall outcomes. He goes on to argue for a hitherto neglected type of moral conception, according to which agents are always permitted, but not always required, to produce the best outcomes. (shrink)
Some people believe that the demands of morality coincide with the requirements of an enlightened self-interest. Others believe that morality is diametrically opposed to considerations of self-interest. This book argues that there is another position, intermediate between these extremes, which makes better sense of the totality of our moral thought and practice. Scheffler elaborates this position via an examination of morality's content, scope, authority, and deliberative role. Although conflicts between morality and self-interest do arise, according to this position, nevertheless morality (...) is fundamentally a reasonable and humane phenomenon. Moreover, the psychological bases of effective moral motivation have sources deep within the self, and morally motivated individuals try to shape their own interests so as to avoid conflict with morality. Since human practices and institutions help to determine the prevalence of these motives, and since in this and other ways they influence the degree to which conflicts between morality and self-interest actually occur, the extent of such conflict is not fixed or immutable, and is in part a social and political issue. (shrink)
In this anthology, distinguished scholars--Thomas Nagel, T.M. Scanlon, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Samuela Scheffler, Conrad D. Johnson, Bernard Williams, Peter Railton, Amartya Sen, Philippa Foot, and Derek Parfit-- debate arguments for and against the moral doctrine of consequentialism to present a complete view of this important topic in moral philosophy.
Leibniz unterscheidet zwischen einem Begriff der metaphysischen Identität, welchen er gebraucht, um das Problem der persönlichen Identität zu lösen, und einem Begriff der moralischen Identität, welchen er verwendet, um das Problem, das ich „das Problem der moralischen Verantwortung“ nenne, zu lösen. In diesem Aufsatz versuche ich, eine systematische Darstellung des Verhältnisses zwischen metaphysischer und moralischer Identität in Leibniz' System zu geben. Ich untersuche die Natur und den Umfang des Unterschieds zwischen moralischer und metaphysischer Identität, die verschiedenen Probleme, die jeder der (...) beiden Begriffe lösen soll, und ich bestimme ihre relative Bedeutung. (shrink)