Philosophical Studies 70 (2):117 - 132 (1993)

Theodore Sider
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Recent discussions of consequentialism have drawn our attention to the so-called “self-other” asymmetry. Various cases presented by Michael Slote and Michael Stocker are alleged to demonstrate a fundamental asymmetry between our obligations to others and ourselves.1 Moreover, these cases are taken to constitute a difficulty for consequentialism, and for the various versions of utilitarianism in particular. I agree that there is a fundamental asymmetry between our obligations to ourselves and to others, and that this fact is inconsistent with the letter of traditional utilitarianisms. However, I do not think this represents a deep shortcoming of the spirit behind utilitarianism. In this paper I will argue that the self-other asymmetry can be accommodated in a broadly utilitarian framework. First, in section one, I characterize moral “asymmetry” in general. Then, in section two, I argue that the cases presented by Slote and Stocker do indeed represent a genuine self-other asymmetry. In part, this involves criticism of an attempt to accommodate the asymmetry within a preferentist framework. Finally, I will present my own solution to the problem of self and other
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DOI 10.1007/BF00989586
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References found in this work BETA

Filial Morality.Christina Hoff Sommers - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (8):439-456.
Ethics and Impartiality.John Cottingham - 1983 - Philosophical Studies 43 (1):83 - 99.
Filial Morality.Christina Hoff Sommers - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (8):439.
Morality and Self-Other Asymmetry.Michael Slote - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):179-192.
Morality, Self, and Others.W. D. Falk - 2007 - In Paul Bloomfield (ed.), Morality and Self-Interest. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (3):337-393.
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Consequentializing Moral Theories.Douglas W. Portmore - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (1):39–73.
Consequentializing.Douglas W. Portmore - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (2):329-347.
Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In Christian Miller (ed.), Bloomsbury Handbook of Ethics. Bloomsbury.

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