The importance of what they care about

Philosophical Studies 165 (2):297-314 (2013)
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Many forms of contemporary morality treat the individual as the fundamental unit of moral importance. Perhaps the most striking example of this moral vision of the individual is the contemporary global human rights regime, which treats the individual as, for all intents and purposes, sacrosanct. This essay attempts to explore one feature of this contemporary understanding of the moral status of the individual, namely the moral significance of a subject’s actual affective states, and in particular her cares and commitments. I argue that in virtue of the moral significance of actual individuals, we should take actual cares and values very seriously—even if those cares and values are not expressions of the person’s autonomy—as partially constituting that individual as a concrete subject who is the proper object of our moral attention. In particular, I argue that a person’s actual cares and values have non-derivative moral significance. Simply because someone cares about something, that care is morally significant. In virtue of this non-derivative moral significance of cares, we ought to adopt of a commitment to accommodate others’ cares and a commitment not to frustrate their cares



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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The sources of normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Onora O'Neill.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Creating the Kingdom of Ends.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

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