Moral Parochialism and the Limits of Impartiality

Heythrop Journal 61 (1):24-34 (2016)
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One of the central problems of contemporary political and moral thought is how to reconcile the cultural and social roots of morality with its objectivity or rational warrant, whether in the personal or political sphere. David Golemboski's reconstruction of Adam Smith's impartial spectator provides a useful first approximation to this problem. What interests me is not whether Golemboski's critique of Smith's impartial spectator hits the mark, but rather, to what extent Golemboski's reconstruction of Smith's impartial spectator succeeds at addressing the problem of moral parochialism, as Golemboski claims. I shall argue in what follows that upon examination, Golemboski's reconstructed impartial spectator, far from resolving the problem of moral parochialism, actually exposes the limits of the value of impartiality as a resource for overcoming parochial prejudice, and the necessity of framing the problem of parochialism less as a matter of social and cultural bias than as a matter of the conditions of possibility of sound moral judgment.



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The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.
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