The presidential address: The ethical credentials of partiality

Authors
John Cottingham
University of Reading
Abstract
Although an impartial perspective is often regarded as integral to the moral outlook, this paper argues that adopting such a perspective is neither (i) sufficient nor (ii) necessary for supporting the principle of respect for all human beings. (i) An impartial spectator aiming to maximize human welfare could well decide that 'low grade' individuals should be eliminated or enslaved; (ii) a theory of virtue based on frankly partialistic principles can find good reasons (based on the interconnectedness of the dispositions required for the exercise of virtue) for cultivating habits of feeling and action that involve respect and concern for all
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9264.00022
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