Philosophical Studies 110 (1):29 - 47 (2002)

Lionel K. McPherson
Tufts University
Common sense supports the idea that we can have morally significantreasons for giving priority to the interests of persons for whom wehave special concern. Yet there is a real question about the natureof such reasons. Many people seem to believe that there are biologicalor metaphysical special relations, such as family, race, religion orpersonal identity, which are in themselves morally important and thussupply reasons for special concern. I maintain that there are nogrounds for accepting this. What matters morally, I argue, is thesubstance of personal or wider social relationships. My ``substantivist''account of the source of morally salient reasons for special concernis positioned between nonreductionist and strong voluntarist views ofspecial responsibilities. Substantivism is more plausible than theseviews and has important implications for how we approach morallyweighing personal versus impartial reasons.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1019864618762
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Parental Obligation.Nellie Wieland - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (3):249-267.
Friendship and the Wishes of the Dead.Dale Dorsey - 2022 - Legal Theory 28 (2):124-145.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
75 ( #154,043 of 2,507,565 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,983 of 2,507,565 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes